Suspicious Package Probed

Thomas MacMIllan PhotoOfficer Joe Tempesta climbed into a Ninja-Turtle-like suit, snapped on a thick metal helmet and walked alone down Elm Street towards a package that police thought might be a bomb.

An hour after police roped off Elm Street Thursday evening, he came back with a verdict: It was just an ordinary backpack.

The action took place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday outside the headquarters of WTNH Channel 8 at Elm and State streets.

Police blocked off Elm Street downtown between Orange and State as a bomb squad investigated the suspicious bag, left near a trashcan.

After X-rays and dismantling by Officer Tempesta of the bomb squad, the bag was revealed to contain only clothes, said Sgt. Rose Turney.

She was one of several cops who taped off the street. She said someone had walked by the bag, figured he’d seen something and said something to the fire department.

Police responded, were unable to see into the bag, and called the bomb squad, which comprises New Haven and Yale police officers. Cops diverted Elm Street traffic north and south on Orange Street while the squad worked.

With the help of fellow bomb squad members, Officer Tempesta climbed into his protective gear. He walked alone to the package, took X-rays of the parcel, and returned to the bomb squad truck, where he waited on the bumper, sipping water and sweating in the hot suit.

The X-rays, developed in the truck, revealed nothing dangerous in the bag. Tempesta donned his helmet once again, walked to the bag, opened it and took everything out. It turned out it was filled with just clothes and “personal items,” Turney said.

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posted by: Ellis Copeland on September 1, 2011  9:28pm

It’s kind of odd to know that all one needs to do is throw some laundry in a bag to derail a town

posted by: Whitney Cyclist on September 1, 2011  10:07pm

Not even a backpack. Remember the trail of flour in the Ikea parking lot that got a Haz-Mat response?

posted by: Jason on September 2, 2011  5:58am

Are they really derailing a town by diverting traffic on one city block?????  I think not.  I am thankful we have extremely selfless officers like those on the Bomb Squad, who do what they do, without question, regardless to what it turns out to be.

posted by: embee on September 2, 2011  7:56am

@ Ellis & Whitney ~

What if it was a bomb? Should we just send a cop or fireman over to pick it up and get killed.  It is unfortunate that as a society we have gotten to the point that everything is suspicious…but please remember that our country is at war and our first responsers must remain safe!!!

posted by: devil's advocate on September 2, 2011  8:07am

What may seem like overkill to all the naysayers may actually save lives one day. As we saw at Yale in 93 and 03 people have used explosive devices in the City of New Haven. If these guys didn’t take every precaution disaster could strike again. What would you be saying if they didn’t overkill it and a little child was injured or god for bid killed because these guys did nothing. Leave the safety of the public to the public safety officials. Contrary to popular belief New Haven has some of the best public safety resources in the country.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 2, 2011  9:50am

Did we roll the assault vehicle too? Common sense has left us for the playacting theater of safety.

posted by: B on September 2, 2011  11:58am

So they think its a bomb but there is nothing (ie officers) stopping those two folks from standing directly across the street on Elm.

I can’t imagine that’s proper procedure.

posted by: dee on September 2, 2011  1:18pm

I drove by this on Elm after the cops/firefighters got there but before the bomb squad did—around 5:45pm. A cop and a fireman were standing a couple of feet from the backpack, and they had maybe a 5-foot perimeter taped off around it. They didn’t look in the LEAST bit concerned. The closing of the street and the grand theatrics of the event didn’t start until the Bomb Squad arrived, apparently.

Let’s have a little consistency here. If you are going to declare it an event that needs the bomb squad and street closures, get everyone off the street IMMEDIATELY.

posted by: What about 8? on September 4, 2011  12:12pm

So let me get this straight - News8 had this whole big commotion outside their building that literally took out a city block and it didn’t make their broadcast? Guess nobody heard all the action over one of the scanners that they monitor or none of their tipsters called it in to them. Was there a picture posted on the famous Report it site - ROFLMAO. Perfect example of why I switched to Fox61 when Geoff went there. Way more competence. You’re a news station and you miss news happening right at your doorstep. Yup wait, I’ll be right there