0

Bomb squad closes down post office for hour

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Concern over a "suspicious package" shut down the Jonesboro post office for about an hour Monday.

A postal worker spotted a backpack about 3 p.m., in the parking lot of the 255 North Main Street office and notified a supervisor. The supervisor called 911, notifying the Jonesboro Police, who called in the bomb squad of the Clayton County Police Department.

"It was sitting outside, by the road, by a parking spot," said Maj. Tom Israel, commander of the county's bomb squad. "It wasn't in a box or anything. It was a bag, like a school bag or a book bag."

The bomb squad temporarily shut down the post office, cordoning off the area with yellow police tape and turning away afternoon customers.

"Just to ensure the citizens stay safe," Israel said. "Any time there's a package that's suspicious, you have to err on the side of caution. That's our job."

Bomb-detecting dogs, however, didn't respond to the "suspicious package," like they would with a real explosive, Israel said, and a couple of X-rays didn't show any bomb components or explosive-devices.

"We determined there was no explosive," the major said, "so I walked up and carefully unzipped the bag. It was a bowling ball, a red-white-and-blue bowling ball."

Police do not know how the ball was left there, in the parking lot, near the road, but assume someone must have set it down and forgotten it.

Israel said the squad responded quickly, to the reported package, and the operation went "like clockwork."

The all-clear was given and the post office was reopened at about 4 p.m.