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300 evacuated at Temple University over suspicious package

Police bomb squad said the object was harmless but was being investigated.
Metro file photo

The Temple University College of Engineering building was evacuated Tuesday morning after police found a suspicious device with wires poking out of it. The object was found to be harmless but is being investigated as a possible intentional hoax.

Police responded around 9 a.m. to reports of a four foot by four foot "wrapped packaged with orange and red wires exposed in the loading dock" of the building, located at 12th and Norris streets. It was discovered around 9:02 a.m. A second package, believed to be related to the first, was in a trash truck nearby.

Temple sent out a text alert to students about a "suspicious Package" at 9:15 a.m., adding they should "Use caution. Avoid the area. Police are responding."

Approximately 300 students and staff were evacuated. Some of those students took to social media to complain about the incident.

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"Nothing says first day of classes like waiting out in the cold while the bomb squad sweeps the College of Engineering for more explosives," one tweeted. "Its the 1st day of class and bomb squad is already on campus," said another.

Temple gave students the all-clear around 11:30 a.m. after the bomb squad checked out the item. But it remains under investigation as to whether this was an intentional hoax or not.

Charles Leone, Temple's executive director for public safety, described the item as a thick vest similar to a weight-lifting vest with wires sticking out it. It was found in the garbage and he said authorities were trying to determine if someone may have thrown it away over break. He said he doubted that it was an intentional hoax.

"To me, it wouldn’t seem intentional because it was in the trash," Leone said. "If it had been intentional, it would have been displayed in a way more people could have seen it, to cause alarm."

 
 
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