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False alarm: Suspicious package in Edwardsville was computer equipment

Suspicious package at Edwardsville post office

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An unmarked box left on top of a mailbox outside the Edwardsville Post Office contained a computer amplifier, according to police.

Edwardsville Police Major Jeff Mills said that a postal worker found the box shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday and called it in to the police. The box had no markings, labels or postage to indicate that it was intended to be mailed, which qualified it as a suspicious package, Mills said. It was left on top of an exterior mailbox on the Kansas Street side of the building.

Edwardsville police officers and agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives surrounded the Edwardsville Post Office on Tuesday morning. Police blocked off the surrounding streets and warned local businesses, most of which closed. Postal workers were evacuated to the far corner of the post office, away from the package site.

“We’re doing our due diligence to make sure the public is safe, and do everything we can to make sure we have a secure scene,” Mills said at the time.

The bomb squad with the Illinois Secretary of State Police arrived shortly after noon, and bomb squad technicians examined the box before sending in a robot to remove it from the mailbox. At that time, a gray box that appeared to be an item of electronics fell from the cardboard box, onto the ground.

Shortly thereafter, Mills confirmed that it appeared to be computer equipment; specifically, a Cisco Gain broad-band amplifier. He said he had no idea why someone would leave it there in an unmarked box without stamps, but that he would recommend it be turned over to the U.S. Postal Service for further investigation.

Nearby Columbus Elementary School was on alert for most of the day, as it is located only a few blocks from the post office. “Our process dictates that whenever there is a concern in the area, we go to what’s called a Code Yellow,” said Edwardsville District 7 Superintendent Lynda Andre. “Everything goes on as normal, but the students stay inside the building.”

That meant midday lunch recess was held inside, and the Columbus school resource officer was on the scene as a liaison and to help develop an alternative plan for school dismissal if necessary. Parents were alerted by email first that the situation was unfolding, and later that dismissal would take place on time and as scheduled.

An unmarked box was left on top of a mailbox outside the Edwardsville Post Office on Tuesday, and law enforcement officials were treating it as a potential threat.

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