Journal of the San Juan Islands


Update | Briefcase bomb threat proves to be false alarm

September 15, 2013 · 1:53 PM

The remains of a briefcase that prompted the evacuation of a Friday Harbor grocery store Saturday because sit in the middle of Market Street. / Scott Rasmussen

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


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