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Victoria bus bomb scare prompted by harmless package

Sep 11 2012
Victoria police leave the #61 BC Transit bus after an inspecting a suspicious parcel found onboard. Police closed down Government Street between Belleville and Michigan streets. 

Victoria police leave the #61 BC Transit bus after an inspecting a suspicious parcel found onboard. Police closed down Government Street between Belleville and Michigan streets.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com (September 2012)

A suspicious package left on a B.C. Transit bus near Victoria’s legislature that forced an evacuation of the area  was not an explosive and is not considered to have been planted deliberately, police said.


“We don’t think anything malicious was intended and we do not see charges coming out of it,” said Victoria police Cst. Mike Russell, Tuesday. “We’re not speculating it was a bomb hoax. It was a package wrapped in a way that caused us some concern.”

Victoria police cordoned off a city block near the legislature at about 4:45 p.m. Monday after the package – the size of a 12-pack beer-can container and wrapped in napkins and electrical tape – was found on the lower floor of a double-decker bus.
Victoria police department’s bomb technician and bomb-sniffing dog examined the box and alsodetermined it warranted concern.


The RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit arrived from Vancouver at about 11 p.m. Monday. Members x-rayed the package  and determined it was safe after which it was taken to the Victoria police department and ripped open.


The package contained a pair of sunglasses and a T-shirt and a note from one individual to another saying something to the effect: “’Hey, have fun at Rifflandia, I did last year, you will too,’” Russell said. “It was a note between two people.” The Rifflandia music festival runs Sept. 13 - 16 in venues throughout downtown Victoria.


Police do not believe the package had any connection to the concert’s promotion or today’s anniversary of the 2001 terrorist bombings on the U.S.
However, “given the 9/11 anniversary and that it’s right beside the legislature, once you consider all those factors you have to take a cautious approach,” Russell said.


At the peak of the investigation about a dozen police officers were involved, police said.


The #61 bus was at the end of its route at about 4:45 p.m. at the corner of Superior and Government streets when the package was discovered by the driver while he was doing a routine inspection at the end of his run.


The parcel was found on the lower level, a couple of seats behind the rear exit to the bus, according to B.C. Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton.
The driver notified a transit supervisor about the suspicious package and police were called

.
Buses were diverted from the area, detouring on Douglas at Menzies.


“VicPD would like to thank all the members of the public who were so understanding of the situation,” Russell said. “We would also like to thank the RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit for their assistance.”


ceharnett@timescolonist.com
- with a file from bill cleverley

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