July 12th, 2024

Suspicious package prompts evacuation at westside mall

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Lethbridge police officers carry out packages, at least one labelled with the word "Grenade" after the Explosives Disposal Unit determined the suspicious packages did not pose any risk during a call on Monday morning at the West Lethbridge Towne Centre.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Multiple businesses in the West Lethbridge Towne Centre were evacuated as a precaution Monday morning while Lethbridge Police Services officers investigated a suspicious package.

Members of the Explosive Disposal Unit, multiple LPS officers, Peace officers and a Lethbridge Fire and EMS ambulance were on scene.

LPS officers focused their investigation on H&R Block located in the West Lethbridge Towne Centre along University Drive, where they were later seen carrying out two small cardboard boxes, one of which was stencilled ‘Grenade’ with the letter ‘a’ replaced by an image of a grenade, and a white plastic bag after they were deemed safe.

According to a release from LPS the business reported an unknown person had left several boxes at the business sometime over the weekend indicating the contents were important and they would return to retrieve them.

When the business opened Monday morning, staff noted the boxes were still there and one of them had an image of an explosive device displayed on the outside. Police were subsequently called.

EDU examined the boxes and determined they contained documents and did not pose any risk.

Businesses originally evacuated included Value Buds, Noodlebox, Panago, H&R Block, Chopped Leaf, Supplement King, Fuzzy Peach, Snore MD, Streets and Edo Japan.

When the Herald arrived to the scene staff from Home Hardware were also evacuated and sitting on a grassy area on the edge of the parking lot.

The public was asked to avoid the area while the investigation was taking place and those who arrived at the scene were directed away as LPS members blocked off an area of the parking lot with yellow tape.

At around 11:30 a.m. the investigation had concluded, LPS removed the tape surrounding the parking lot and the public was able to resume activity in the area.

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