Shoes in shoe box are cause of Freeland bomb scare Wednesday

A “suspicious box” that led to the closure of a section of Main Street and nearby businesses in Freeland Wednesday morning turned out to be a shoe box with work boots in it, according to Island County Sheriff Mark Brown.

A deputy responded to the scene of the box around 6:45 a.m. and called for assistance to determine what its contents were. Because it was “suspiciously put in a bus shelter in proximity to several fuel pumps in a business area,” it prompted concern Brown said.

Law enforcement closed roads between East Harbor Road and Main Street and Lotto Avenue and Main Street until just after 9 a.m. that morning. Eric Brooks, director of Island County Department of Emergency Management, sent a phone system alert to nearby businesses advising them to evacuate to the area, Brown said.

“We decided to be on the safe side,” Brown said.

Deputies called Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad, which dispatches out of Marysville, but the state agency was called off while still en route to Whidbey Island, Brown said.

The contents of the box couldn’t easily be seen from observation, but while speaking to individuals who might have seen the box placed, deputies found an Island Transit driver who saw the box and its contents the night before.

The bomb squad was called off and roads reopened after it was confirmed there were shoes inside the box and nothing harmful.

“We apologize for any inconvenience to the public and to the business owners,” Brown said.

“But we opted on the side of overall public safety and determining if there was a threat to public safety, as opposed to making a more rapid decision.”

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