Suitcase found to be empty

Monday, October 17, 2005

SIKESTON -- A suitcase in the Wal-Mart parking lot caused quite a stir Friday night, shutting down the business along with an adjacent McDonald's Restaurant for several hours.

At about 7:30 p.m., dispatchers at the Sikeston Department of Public Safety received an anonymous call that a suitcase was in the Wal-Mart parking lot, just east of the lawn and garden section.

Upon arrival, officers with Sikeston DPS secured the area and called the Missouri State Highway Patrol bomb squad. Authorities said that a suitcase of this type could hold up to 100 pounds of explosives.

"We had to be careful and handle (the suitcase) with care until we knew what it was," said Sikeston DPS captain Mark Crocker.

The bomb squad arrived around 11:30 p.m. and did a quick assessment of the scene. They then used a water cannon disrupter to "pop open the suitcase from a safe distance," said Crocker.

When all was said and done the suitcase was found to be empty but Crocker said they felt they should err on the side of caution as there have been other similar packages found around the nation.

"Unfortunately we have to dress for all of them," said Crocker of the scare.

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