Bridge shuts down after false alarm
NILES — The Niles police Department called the Berrien County bomb squad to investigate a suspicious-looking metal crate that was spotted on a Main Street Bridge sidewalk Wednesday afternoon.
The squad’s services were not needed, however, after Niles Police determined that the package only contained oxygen bottles.
A driver had reported the crate to Niles police at about 12:42 p.m. Police closed down the bridge and locked down the area to investigate.
Niles police Sgt. Scott Swanson said the package was found in plain sight.
“It was sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk, right in the middle of the bridge” Swanson said. “It was suspicious. It looked like a possible improvised explosive device. The way they were placed, it looked they were intentionally there.”
About 15 minutes after the investigation began, a driver returned to the scene, and explained to police that they had lost a six-pack of oxygen bottles out of the back of their trunk while crossing the bridge.
Swanson said that after confirming the driver’s story, police contacted the bomb squad to tell them they were not needed at the scene. The bridge was reopened about 15 minutes later.
Police believe that, after the crate fell out of the car, another passerby had moved it onto the sidewalk to get it out of the street, Swanson said.
Niles Police Chief Jim Millin said police responded to the situation utilizing potential bomb protocol.
“You have to treat it that way when you find something on a bridge,” he said.
The Niles Fire Department was also dispatched to the scene. The Niles Utility department also dispatched a drone to help investigate.
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