Winnipeg police have arrested a man in connection with a chemical weapons scare in the city involving more than a dozen suspicious packages that turned out to be harmless.
“For a good eight hour period, the majority of the city’s emergency resources were tied up with this,” said Const. Tammy Skrabek, adding that’s its fortunate there wasn’t any other major incidents that day, April 27, 2017.
The first package marked to indicate it contained a chemical weapon was reported to police at about 11:30 a.m. Police responded to the 400 block of York Street, then received more reports of similar packages left of vehicle windshields in the area.
Police said later, another package was left on a vehicle in the 800 block of Portage Avenue, and the victim brought it to RCMP.
The evening, Canada Post reported finding another similar package at its plant on Wellington Avenue.
“So for everyone one of these suspicious package calls, you’re looking at a number of officers attending,” said Skrabek, explaining that officers were required for crowd control and members of the bomb unit needed to make sure the packages were safe to move.
She also said firefighters and paramedics were also called out as a precaution, in case anyone was harmed.
Police seized 18 packages in total, and tests revealed the packages contained nothing hazardous.
Skrabek said investigators don’t know what motivated the suspect behind the incident, and that, “It was a very poorly thought out plan.”
On Monday, a 71-year-old man from St. Claude, Man. was arrested for public mischief and was released on a promise to appear in court.
Police believe there may have been other packages connected to the incident either not reported to police or not yet discovered, and Skrabek encourages anyone who comes across one to contact the Winnipeg Police Service major crimes unit.
She also said that although the packages in this case turned out to be harmless, that if anyone finds a suspicious package, they should “not open it, not touch it and let police deal with it.”
Published at Wed, 16 May 2018 15:11:29 -0400