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Posted on Fri, May 13, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

False alarm: Suspicious package near Federal Building in downtown Ann Arbor

By Staff


Officials blocked off the area near the Federal Building in Ann Arbor Friday afternoon as they evaluate a 'suspicious package.'

Melanie Maxwell |

This story was updated at 2:24 p.m.

The suspicious package found near the Federal Building in downtown Ann Arbor was a "false alarm," said Sgt. Jason Kitts of the Ann Arbor Police Department.

And upon investigation it also turned out to be a promotional item for the movie "Thor."

That determination came shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, an hour after streets were blocked off near the building on East Liberty at South Fourth Avenue.

At about 1 p.m., Police had closed off the area of Fourth Avenue and Liberty Street after someone spotted the package.

Ann Arbor police, the U.S. Marshals Service and an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent responded to the scene. The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad arrived at about 2 p.m.


The suspicious box.

Melanie Maxwell |

The package was discovered by a passer-by on the ground on Fourth Avenue between Liberty and William streets, Ann Arbor Police Lt. Angela Abrams said.

Police did not allow cars in or out of the Fourth Avenue and William Street parking structure, a court security officer who identified himself as C. Mitchell told an reporter.

ATF Special Agent George Goodman said the FBI was on the scene. He said a bomb threat had been called into the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority earlier on Friday, prompting the heightened security. (To see an updated story on the investigation into the bomb threat, click here.)

Officials were on alert, Goodman said, when someone reported seeing the package fall out of a Dumpster

As police rushed to the scene, people were ushered away from the Federal Building, while Liberty was taped off in front of the U.S. Post Office.



Sat, May 14, 2011 : 2:21 a.m.

Picture of the press kit here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Marshall Applewhite

Sat, May 14, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

The Federal Building is ugly as sin, and really is located poorly. They should have just evacuated it, and &quot;blew up the package&quot;.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

Maybe it was Gov. Snyder's new tax cut law?


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

so is this why the loud annoying red helicopter circled and circled and circled our normally peaceful neighborhood?

Jojo B

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

So any idea what exactly was in the box? Posters? Was this some sort of viral advertising attempt? Let's see some sleuthing on this story! Are Thor posters responsible for the RenCen and Federal Building being evacuated in Detroit?

John A2

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Something as large as a shoe box can do some heavy damage, and thats if it were plastic explosives. Thor has done it again- bad Thor. We have a need to be so cautious, I saw some interviews on what Afghan people thought of Ben Ladins death. One of the people said that you can't kill Ben Ladin because we are all Ben Ladin. I would like to know what does that exactly mean? Either way it would have been better if they found this package on Thursday being that is Thor's day . Again, BAD THOR- you must be grounded, so go to your room.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 10:56 p.m.

Ben Laden? LOL. Osama Bin Laden or as the feds call him now Usama Bin Laden.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

It was a black box around the size of a shoe box which was a Shield &quot;Agent Test Kit&quot; promo for Acura / Thor.

G. Orwell

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

Obvious over reaction because of all the fear mongering by our government. TERROR, TERROR, TERROR. Our country has been turned into cowards and sheep.

Jen Eyer

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

A comment that discussed our moderation was moved to this page: <a href=""></a>

Sebastian Wreford

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

That took longer than I expected


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

An Uru Hammer is not to be trifled with.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

False alarm


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

&quot;Police did not cars in or out of the Fourth Avenue and William Street parking structure, a court security officer who identified himself as C. Mitchell told an reporter.&quot; Police did not cars in or out? I think the word 'allow' is missing somewhere.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

So who paid for these cars extra time in the parking structure?' Ann Arbor City has no money, thats why there pink slipping police and /or fire....


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing, but I have found most articles on this site have some typo or word missing. Either fast fingers or lack of basic editing before the story is posted.

Swamp Thing

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Wow, I'd say is getting a little liberal with censoring comments on this article.

G. Orwell

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Yet another example of the dying dinasour MSMs. Althernative media is far more informative and open. I wonder how long will last.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Yeah, ironic a news organization that only supports the first amendment for itself.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

ATF Special Agent George Goodman, said the FBI is on the scene. &quot;We don't know everything,&quot; he said. Brought to you by the good people at the Department of Superfluous Quotes.

rusty shackelford

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

&quot;Interesting comment,&quot; said some guy who happened to be standing nearby.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

rick snyder had something to do with this? really? we just got bin laden so we should be extra vigilant. people wanna joke.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

Don't go there.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Maybe they should call it an &quot;unattended package&quot;. If it's without an owner, it becomes suspicious.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

It was suspicious because it crawled part way to the exit and shouted: &quot;Stella, Stella, Stella!!!&quot;

Mr. Tibbs

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

this town has so much &quot;unattended baggage&quot; should have gone unnoticed! LOL


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Just wondering--what exactly makes a package suspicious (and not just something someone left behind absent-mindedly)? I am always hearing about suspicious packages, but how often do they justify closing off city streets?


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

Perhaps could follow up on this story to find out why the package was suspicious--would any package left in this area be, or was there something about this particular item? I would hate to accidentally leave my shopping bag in a storefront and have the whole area closed down for an hour. That was why I posted my original question.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

&quot;Better safe than sorry?&quot; I guess. Overreaction? No doubt.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:20 p.m.

Well, here's my experience with the topic. We were in Syracusa (Sicily,) sitting by the harbor, a few years ago. We sort of gradually became aware that a backpack was sitting alone on the next bench from us, nobody else around, no one in sight who might have just set it down and walked away for a minute. After five minutes or so, we left -- didn't report it -- my Italian isn't that good, anyway. Nothing happened, at least that made any news media that came to my attention, and nobody else seemed to be concerned. But that fell into my definition of a &quot;suspicious&quot; object -- something clearly of value, clearly abandoned in a public place.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

It is suspicious if it has a battery behind it, and wires.

tom swift jr.

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

If they say &quot;bomb&quot; and are ticking, they fall in the suspicious column.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

I think it's a &quot;better safe than sorry precaution&quot;. A box left outside a federal building, unattended, with no obvious reason as to why anyone would have left it there. Probably &gt;99% chance it's something silly like an empty box or something set down and forgotten. In this climate, at that location however, I can see it being enough to raise an eyebrow. In the less than 1% chance that it were something dangerous, I don't think any public service agent would want to be held accountable for death or injuries had it been brushed aside as of no certain consequence, even after being brought to their attention.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Maybe they justify it to themselves by thinking that it is a mild inconvenience that might save lives.


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

I think the location is considered in the decision. And I guess I'd be suspicious of any package left lying around. It's sad we're paranoid anymore, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry.

Bertha Venation

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

If lt doesn't have a card, I usually get suspicious.

Tom Joad

Fri, May 13, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Bring in the dogs!


Fri, May 13, 2011 : 6 p.m.

And they're here! Titanium teeth and everything!