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Kalakaua reopens; Suspicious package just 'a bunch of junk'

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:33 p.m. HST, Apr 26, 2013

Honolulu police reopened Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki at Lewers Street at about 5:10 p.m. after the HPD bomb squad found nothing inside a "suspicious package" outside the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

Although the bomb squad deemed the backpack harmless, officers arrested a 29-year-old man for investigation of second-degree terroristic threatening, a misdemeanor.

A portion of shopping center had been evacuated during the more than two-hour scare, HPD spokeswoman Teresa Bell said.

An unattended backpack was found about 2 p.m. in front of the Cartier store on Kalakaua, police said. Police called the bomb squad and shut down Kalakaua Avenue before 3 p.m., creating a traffic nightmare in Waikiki just as the afternoon rush hour was about to begin.

Police X-rayed the backpack and an explosive specialist in a protective suit from HPD's Specialized Services Division looked inside and found nothing dangerous.

“Basically a bunch of junk inside,” police Capt. Ryan Borges said. “Circumstances indicated it might have been an explosive device because of the way the person was acting,” he said.

Borges said witnesses said it appeared the bag was left there intentionally. “It wasn’t a mistake, he actually intended to scare people,” he said.

Borges referred to last week's Boston Marathon bombing and said, “We’re treating everything like it’s real, because we don’t know."

The road closure created an instant traffic mess as vehicles heading into the ewa-end of Waikiki stopped, backing up traffic throughout the surrounding areas. Motorists were told to avoid Kalakaua from Lewers to Royal Hawaiian Avenue.

The disruption came a day after a bomb threat and "suspicious package" closed down the Circuit Court and other government buildings on Punchbowl and Halekauwila streets for several hours. The package was deemed harmless, but police have opened a first-degree terroristic threatening case in the scare.

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Bag prompts bomb scare in Waikiki

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jess wrote:
on April 26,2013 | 03:33PM
hanalei395 wrote:
It was a backpack.
on April 26,2013 | 06:03PM
dlum003 wrote:
Ridiculous. Ar they going to cry panic at every leftover bag of McDonald's fries?
on April 26,2013 | 03:35PM
Boatscribe wrote:
Will every vagrant's stash become suspect now?
on April 26,2013 | 03:47PM
petecronburg wrote:
I probably would have kicked it....
on April 26,2013 | 03:50PM
ezridah wrote:
this the same package from Punchbowl ? copycat
on April 26,2013 | 03:56PM
ewald wrote:
Are people overreacting, or or people just plain stupid to do things like this! EVERY TIME there's a terrorist situation, things like this continue to happen. Kinda like - "Oh, look at me, I'm part of the action". Just plain Stupid!!
on April 26,2013 | 03:57PM
soshaljustic wrote:
When is litter simply litter, opala just opala, garbage another's treasure and now a pressure cooker is not grandma's favorite sunday dinner? When it becomes another taxpayers nightmare!!
on April 26,2013 | 04:12PM
bkimdds wrote:
so now with every unidentified container or bag laying around a public area, we will be closing premises for few hours? the loss in time, revenue, and law enforcement resources will be outrageous! what about all the personal belongings that homeless people leave around? i suppose disruption of normal life due to fear is exactly what terrorism is supposed to accomplish.
on April 26,2013 | 05:43PM
Ratrase wrote:
Over reacting ya think?
on April 26,2013 | 05:58PM
ejkorvette wrote:
I was criticized when I wrote a comment in response to the reaction of the first package. Now it happens again and although the Police are doing a great job in being "Proactive" rather than "Reactive", there are several other checks in the box that can be utilized for assurances, before Hawaii hits the Panic Button. However, at the end of the day, CHoke Aloha and Mahalo HPD and the Special Services Division for answering the call. I will never criticize your efforts in putting "Safety First".
on April 26,2013 | 08:48PM
DeltaDag wrote:
Terrorists grin in victory each time Americans are compelled to jump through such hoops (and let's not dwell upon what we put up with in commercial air travel). They won. We lost.
on April 26,2013 | 10:59PM
Wazdat wrote:
Oh wow Hawaii cops are LAME...
on April 27,2013 | 01:21AM
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