Police were notified at 4:17 p.m. Wednesday of the package in the parking lot west of Macy’s, the department said.
An Air Force bomb squad is on scene to provide assistance with a robot, and police blocked off a section of the parking lot preventing some people from getting to their vehicles.
“Officers are using standard protocols to ensure public safety by closing this area of the parking lot until the package has been examined,” the department said. “The mall is still open for business but we ask that you avoid this area of the parking lot until officers have cleared the scene.”
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Police at the scene, who are wearing helmets, are not giving any official confirmation on what they are dealing with “because we don't know,” an officer said.
The area has been cordoned off to traffic only as a precaution until the contents of the package can be identified, police said.
However several people are unable to get to their vehicles as police work. Some of those waiting resorted to napping, or eating dinner while sitting on the sidewalk.
Among those waiting to get to their vehicles was 19-year-old Alexis Conklin, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville freshman from Peoria.
Conklin said her car is located near the suspicious object and that she was more worried about her car than her safety inside the mall.
Mall General Manager Michael Hagen said there was no change in operations at the mall.
“Nobody in the mall was in danger," Hagen said. "There was no reason to close the mall.”
Check back to bnd.com for further updates.