No threat found from suspicious package in Batavia
BATAVIA – The Batavia Post Office is now open after a scare from a suspicious package that evacuated the building, which resulted in bomb squads being called to the scene early Thursday morning.
Beverly Howard, customer relations coordinator for the post office's central Illinois district, said postal workers grew suspicious when they heard a ticking sound coming from a package that had been dropped off in an automated parcel unit in the post office's lobby.
She said the Postal Inspection Service was called to the scene, and local authorities, including bomb squads, were called a short time after. The incident turned out to be a false alarm, and no one was injured. Howard said authorities opened one of the packages, which contained weights.
Deputy Police Chief Daniel Eul with the Batavia Police Department said the call came in at 5:19 a.m., and the building was evacuated. Workers appeared to drive their cars to a plaza across the street from the post office, where Eul said they waited for about an hour before returning to the post office parking lot.
"It was kind of the start-up time for the day," he said. "There may have been a handful of people in the building."
Eul said around 5:30 a.m., police temporarily closed down the east side of Mill Street near the side entrance of the post office building located at 500 N. Randall Road in Batavia. He said the road re-opened shortly before 8 a.m.
"There were no injuries, no charges, no cause for concern, no threat," Eul said after authorities cleared the scene before 9 a.m. "We're at the point of conclusion."
Howard said authorities isolated the package in question and said dogs were called to sniff for bombs. She said authorities looked at all the parcels in the bin to be safe and tried to contact the person who had sent the package.
Incidents of suspicious packages don't happen too often, Howard said. Leaking packages and powders are among the most common types of suspicious packages postal employees come across, she added.
"Since anthrax, we're very concerned," she said. "Any time we get suspicious parcels, we do call authorities."