All Clear After Reports of Suspicious Packages in Columbia

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Just before 1 o'clock Wednesday afternoon Columbia Police, Columbia Fire and SLED shut down one of the main arteries into downtown Columbia, Assembly Street, after not one but two suspicious packages were found.

"We can never take this with a grain of salt," says Jennifer Timmons of the Columbia Police Department.

"It makes you uncomfortable due to the current situation with the country," says Kenzo Hall, who was in downtown when Assembly Street was blocked off.

"I think it's a little crazy for Columbia, but I understand because of what happened in Boston why they are doing what they are doing," says Jimmy Coxe, also in downtown Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm a little curious," says Anthony Dollard.

Dollard was inside a barber shop on Assembly Street when police told him about the possible threat.

"Actually I kind of laughed a little bit because I didn't think he was serious, but when he said it a second time I was like well ok, well not a problem, come on let's go on down the street,' says Dollard

He and others evacuated the building.

"I mean it's just being concerned for personal safety," says Dollard

Then, around 2 o'clock, moments after learning the package at Assembly Street and Lady Street was not a threat, instead merely a book bag full of clothing, another call came in of a suspicious package at the corner of Garners Ferry Road and Rosewood Drive.

"For whatever reason the bags were left and then they were retrieved, we cleared the scene," says Timmons.

Back in downtown, authorities continued to work the scene of the second package near the corner of Washington and Assembly, sending a robot in and detonating the package.

Authorities later cleared that scene as well. Timmons tell us the package contained library books and questionable items. However, because of the controlled detonation, Timmons says, it's hard to determine exactly what those items were.

"People are on alert, they are very concerned about the circumstances affecting the country," says Timmons.

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