CARS HOMES JOBS
False alarm

Backpack, Quran cause worry at post office

May 28, 2013
Updated 3:42 p.m.
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KATHLEEN MOORE/GAZETTE REPORTER

Schenectady police tape around the main downtown Post Office in Schenectady.
KATHLEEN MOORE/GAZETTE REPORTER Schenectady police tape around the main downtown Post Office in Schenectady.

— Police evacuated the Post Office on Jay Street this morning after workers found a backpack abandoned in the lobby.

The bag reminded residents of the bombs placed at the Boston Marathon, and employees took it seriously. They immediately called police.

But the owner of the backpack soon came wandering back, and the state police bomb squad found nothing explosive in the bag.

The incident began at 10:16 a.m., when an employee saw the bag and brought it to an outdoor parking lot. Police then cordoned off the entire area, closed the nearby Schenectady County library, and waited for the bomb squad.

But they didn’t have to worry about the bag for long. Soon a man came to the crime tape, looking for his backpack.

“We had him in custody pretty early,” said police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken. “He actually came back looking for it.”

Detectives interviewed him and determined that he wasn’t trying to scare anyone by leaving his backpack in the Post Office.

“It was determined he was suffering from some pretty serious mental conditions,” McCracken said.

Police found no criminal intent and did not charge him in connection with the incident.

McCracken said there was no note or other indication that there might be a bomb in the bag. But there was a Quran next to the bag, “which caused suspicion and alarm,” he said.

When state police finally opened the bag, they found only clothing and items for personal hygeine.

The Post Office and Library were closed for about two hours, reopening after noon.

 
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