“It’s still under investigation,” said Vern Malloch, Assistant Police Chief about 1:20 pm this afternoon. Malloch was referring to a large red bag that the Portland Police Department was investigating using a large robot with a live camera in it. It is controlled by remote control attached to a Police Department van nearby. The bag was located on the sidewalk to the left of the United States Custom House, 103 Commercial Street.
Just moments before that mini-press conference by Malloch, a man in a special protective suit was seen reaching inside the red bag with no visible repurcussions. to him. (See left photo). The gray robot can be seen to the far right of the photograph.
At 10:30 am this morning a person walked into the US Custom House and alerted Inspector Craig Hamel, with Homeland Security, about the bag on the sidewalk outside the federal building. Hamel went out and secured the perimeter of the site. Then he called the Portland Police Department.
According to a man working across the street at Curlio’s Cones, he saw a police man in a SUV drive up to the package at 10:36 am. He got out of his car and looked at the “duffel like” bag.
About two dozen businesses were evacuated for safety reasons. According to a second Inspector with Homeland Security, there are security cameras at the entrances and exists of the United States Custom House, 103 Commercial Street. Unfortunately, the cameras do not cover that large an area.
If there was a final press release by Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch, this blogger missed it! Presumably, it was a false alarm!