Just before 4:00 pm this afternoon, a suited-up member of the Portland Hazardeous Devices Unit walked up Market Street toward Congress Street. As he took off his helmet, a big smile broke out across his face. Those watching from Congress Street knew the bomb scare was over – with no explosion or injuries.
Portland Police Officer, Lt. Gary Rogers, briefed the few press members assembled a block from the mail box in front of the Courthouse and behind the fire department. Lt. Rogers said that around 1:00 pm., the Police Department had received a phone call from someone reporting a ticking noise coming from the mailbox at the corner. The Hazardous Devices Unit arrived on the scene. First, a robot was sent down to the box to take photos of inside the box. Next a member of the Unit suited-up, walked down to the box and returned to the unit truck about a half an hour later. From then on, officers began watching x-ray equipment of the mailbox from inside the unit truck. Tha took about half a hour. Eventually, the officer suited up again and returned to the mailbox. That was about 3:40 pm. Just before 4:00 pm, he returned to the unit truck with a big smile on his face.
Professional photographer Deb Strout, arrived on Congress Street around 3:00pm. She was trying to get to her studio in the Old Port. “I was very surprised by this. Normally there are very few business people in the area on Saturday afternoon.” Please visit www.freezeframephotography.com
Lt. Rogers said the item in the mail box turned out to be a women’s purse with a ringing cell phone inside. He speculated that it could have been stolen and dumped in the mailbox. Lt. Nine officers were involved in the three hour investigation this afternoon.