Suspicious package clears police station -- UPDATE

The Bainbridge Police Department was evacuated for several hours Monday morning, after a suspicious package – possibly containing a sack lunch – was left at the front doorstep.

A Washington State Patrol “bomb squad” officer wearing protective gear retrieved the package and carted it away for disposal at 11:58 a.m.

Officers and staff were allowed back into the building shortly thereafter, and the department reopened for business.

The specific nature of the package was not immediately known, but it contained “non-hazardous material,” police later said in a news release.

Asked for clarification, Police Chief Matt Haney said, “I didn’t see into it, but I was told it looked like someone’s lunch.”

He added: “If I had to guess, it was something someone found and left there because they didn’t want to come in and fill out forms. But that’s strictly a guess.”

The package, a small gray container about one cubic foot in volume, was not on the doorstep when officers arrived for work at 8 a.m., but was noticed by an employee around 9:30.

The building was evacuated on the advice of the Washington State Patrol.

Officers cordoned off the area at Winslow Way and State Route 305, diverting pedestrians while bomb squad members and an explosives-sniffing dog evaluated the package.

“We never get containers dropped off at our front door during business hours,” Haney said, adding that citizens sometimes give him lost-and-found items because they don’t want to take the time to bring them in to the office.

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