‘Suspicious package’ sparks concern in downtown park
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Police spent four hours in downtown’s Ivey Park on Tuesday investigating what they believed to be a “suspicious” package.
Turns out, it wasn’t a package at all.
It was a small camera, police said, that had been taped to a bike path guardrail near the Thames River foot bridge.
Const. Will Knelsen said it’s unclear how the tiny device — described as a “pinhole camera” — found it’s way onto the railing.
“It appears as if someone attached it for a project or something similar,” Knelsen said, noting that’s not illegal.
“At this time, we have not had the opportunity to speak with the owner or (whomever) placed that camera there,” he said Tuesday evening.
However it got there, the camera caused a stir.
A passerby noticed it about 1 p.m. and called police. Within minutes, officers arrived on the scene, cordoning off a large area and raising concern from those trying to use the park.
The London Fire Department was also on scene with firefighters standing by on land and launching a boat in the Thames River. All roads remained open.
About two hours later, the police department’s explosive-disposal team showed up.
Situated near the HMCS Prevost — across the river from Ivey Park — team members launched a remote-controlled robot that made its way to the bike path, destroying the would-be package with a loud “boom” that echoed across the area.
Knelsen acknowledged that people’s nerves may be a bit jumpy after two bombs exploded during Monday’s Boston Marathon, something that could have led to the initial report.
“I think the public is definitely more aware and more cognizant of situations like this as a result,” he said.
The police response, however, followed standard protocol for such calls, he said.
How it unfolded
— 1 p.m.: Police get a call from someone who noticed what was described as a “suspicious” package in Ivey Park.
— Less than 15 minutes later: Police arrive on the scene and cordoned off a wide area, focusing their attention on a bike path near the HMCS Prevost on Becher Street.
— About 3:45 p.m.: An explosives-disposal team uses a robot to destroy what turned out to be a camera.