Unattended luggage forces evacuation of Manchester shopping center
A piece of luggage found by itself in the parking lot of the Manchester Shopping Plaza Monday morning prompted a partial evacuation, though the contents were found to be harmless.
Manchester police, under supervision of township Emergency Management Coordinator Arthur Abline, diverted traffic, emptied several stores and called in the New Jersey State Police bomb squad after the discovery, not long after the morning rush hour had dissipated.
A review of surveillance video revealed an individual leaving the suitcase against a signpost at about 7:38 AM, police said, A ShopRite manager called police after it was reported to him by store employees.
Shops from the supermarket to the nearby Dollar Tree were emptied and entry to the parking lot was restricted until investigators, at about 11:39 AM, found the bag to be empty.
Manchester detectives identified and found the owner, who told them that he removed the suitcase from his vehicle while loading groceries, and unwittingly left it behind.
Police did not identify the owner.
The ShopRite workers took the responsible step. Police remind residents to report objects or actions that appear suspicious. Information can be left anonymously through the Tip Line portal in the Manchester PD web page, or phoned to 732-657-6111.