Danville Express

Newsfront - August 24, 2007

Bomb scare rattles U.S. Bank

Suspicious object turns out to be glasses in bag

by Natalie O'Neill and Jordan Doronila

Shoppers watched in trepidation as police evacuated U.S. Bank on San Ramon Valley Road late Wednesday morning last week and roped off the area after an unknown male left a bomb threat on the branch's voicemail that turned out to be false.

"It's a bomb scare," said Danville Police Sgt. Troy Francis, who was supervising at the scene. "The message was very vague. The bank still doesn't have any idea why it was made."

Police responded by setting a canine, trained to detect explosives, free inside the building. The dog found a suspicious object, and the Walnut Creek Police Department's bomb squad was then called to determine whether the object was in fact a bomb.

At least 10 police vehicles arrived at the bank, and several shoppers from the center watched the police activity from behind yellow caution tape.

On the east side of the bank, all of the businesses, which include Valero Gas Station, were ordered to shut down. Most of the other surrounding businesses remained open although police advised business owners to shut down and evacuate to be on the safe side.

"Nothing was mandated," said Victor Casaus, owner of Pasta Gondola, which remained open. "It was a judgment call. We informed our customers."

"I've been involved with bomb threats," he added. "I think it's more precautionary than preeminent danger."

If the police had ordered all the businesses to evacuate, he said he would have done so without hesitation.

"I don't feel too concerned," said Laurie Lile, an employee at Kitchens of Diablo.

"Hopefully, there is nothing to be concerned about," added Willie Armstrong, assistant manager of Longs Drugs.

At 3 p.m., Sgt. Francis said the bomb squad did not find a bomb and that the suspicious package was a pair of eyeglasses in a brown paper bag, which was discovered in a basket on the bank floor.

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