A briefcase that was deemed suspicious and prompted evacuation of a Friday Harbor grocery store mid-day Saturday turned out to entirely empty of any contents after authorities blew it open with a remotely operated explosive device.
Two officers from a Washington State Patrol bomb squad based in Marysville arrived at the scene at about 3:30 p.m. to detonate the briefcase, which was discovered perched against a boulder in a landscaped area in front of the Marketplace parking at about 11:30 a.m.
The position in which it had been placed and its odd appearance, covered by mismatched materials on either side, prompted local authorities to treat the briefcase both as "suspicious" and a possible bomb threat.
Shoppers and employees were evacuated from the building as a precautionary measure and Market Street, the roadway outside the store, was roped off from end to end with bright yellow crime-scene tape.
The grocery store reopened shortly before 4 p.m. after authorities determined the briefcase to be harmless.
— Scott Rasmussen