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Suspicious package investigated at Bristol Post Office

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 04:40:17 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Tenn. -

More than a dozen suspicious packages were found around the Tri-Cities Monday, and one of the places that made the discovery was the Bristol, Tennessee Post Office. View photos: Bristol, Johnson City bomb scare

With bomb gear on and robots ready, it wasn't an average day inspecting mail at the Bristol Post Office. Around 6:45 Monday morning, Bristol, Tennessee police officers were called out to inspect a suspicious cardboard box.

Lt. David Kirkpatrick with the Bristol, Tennessee Police Department told us the package was found next to the locked doors of the post office; it was unusual enough to throw up a "red flag." "We [closed] off the area and called in the bomb squad," said Lt. Kirkpatrick.

Bomb technicians spent hours carefully investigating the suspicious package using extreme caution. "It was a small cardboard box with [handwriting] on the side that said fragile, and it was addressed to the post office. [It] said 'Happy Easter,'" said Brian Hess, bomb technician with the Bristol Bomb Squad.

K9s tracked for clues near cars left in the area, but X-rays revealed there was no bomb inside.

While investigators won't say what was found in the box, officials said there was no threat to the post office or surrounding area. "There are certain components that you're looking for in an [explosive] device, and it doesn't meet the criteria for that," explained Hess.

Hess also said there was a note attached to the box, but the note was not threatening.

Even with the "all-clear" given mid-morning, post office customers told us in a world where all suspicions must be taken seriously, an unusual package at a popular place is nerve-wracking. "It doesn't make you feel too good when you walk in," said mail patron Diana Brown.

"It makes me worry that people's mindsets are that way now," Paul Smith told us.

Whether it's a prank or not, no one at the post office in Bristol was laughing. "Anything like that is not funny. No, it's not," said customer Carolyn Hand.

United States Postal Service officials told us mail carriers were an hour or two behind today because of this situation.

Police said since this incident did happen at a post office, the contents of the box is being handed over to federal agents, and the investigation is on-going.

View photos: Bristol, Johnson City bomb scare