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Police vet suspicious objects

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    Kahuku High School students watched the activity from across the street.
    A police investigator examined a bottle covered in camouflage-pattern wrapping and black electrical tape that was found Thursday in Kahuku District Park next to a public school complex. The bottle was found to pose no threat, but surrounding schools were locked down while police investigated.
  • but surrounding schools were locked down while police investigated.

Honolulu police explosives specialists responded to two more suspicious objects on different sides of the island Thursday, including what was determined to be "an incendiary device" near the Kahuku school complex.

They were the fourth and fifth cases involving suspicious packages found in high-profile places on Oahu that required at least brief shutdowns and disruptions to business or government operations since the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured scores.

Kahuku Elementary and Kahuku Middle and High Schools were placed in lockdown just after 8 a.m. after "a suspicious device" was found by employees at Kahuku District Park.

Department of Education officials lifted the lockdown at the 2,000-student Kahuku school complex at 10:41 a.m. after police determined the device posed no threat.

Police would not specify the contents of the item, a glass beverage bottle wrapped in a camouflage-pattern material and black electrical tape.

Sources said the bottle smelled like gasoline or diesel fuel, but police would not confirm that.

HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said police determined the object was "an incendiary device," although she provided no specifics.

In West Oahu, store officials at the Kapolei Walmart made the decision to evacuate customers at about 12:20 p.m. after an ammunition box was found in the parking lot.

Specialized Services Division officers determined the box to be empty and not a threat at about 2:45, and the store reopened a short time later.

Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Har­die said the national chain is cooperating with HPD, including providing officers with video surveillance footage.

"We take these matters seriously and do not hesitate to close a facility if we perceive a threat to our customers and associates," she said.

The three other high-profile, suspicious package incidents in the past eight days:

» April 25: At Circuit Court in downtown Hono­lulu, a suspicious package shut down not just the courthouse for the morning, but also Punchbowl and Pohu­kaina streets. The package was found after a person called 911 and said there was a bomb in the area.

HPD’s specialized services personnel used a "water cannon" at 9:50 a.m. to disable the package.

» April 26: A portion of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center was closed, as was Kalakaua Avenue from Lewers Street to Royal Hawaiian Avenue, after an unattended bag was found near the Cartier store on Kalakaua at about 2 p.m. A bomb squad deemed the backpack harmless and reopened the roads at about 5:10 p.m. Officers arrested a man, 29, on suspicion of second-degree terroristic threatening.

» Monday: A suspicious package was found at Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Waikiki at about 11:48 p.m., and Kapa­hulu Avenue was closed between Kuhio Street and Kalakaua Avenue. It was reopened at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday. Details of that event are sketchy.

"We encourage the public to be vigilant, and if anyones does see suspicious behavior, people or activity, please call 911 immediately," said HPD spokes­woman Michelle Yu.


Star-Advertiser reporter Gordon Y.K. Pang contributed to this report.

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