Tossed pedometer spurs bomb scare on Larpenteur

Scarcely two days after the Boston Marathon bombings, a suspicious object caused the strip mall on the 1500 block of West Larpenteur Avenue in Falcon Heights to be evacuated and the area cordoned off for two hours.

On the afternoon of April 17, a person walking by a garbage container at the strip mall immediately east of Snelling Avenue heard beeping, looked inside and saw wires extending from a backpack. An officer from the St. Anthony Police Department, which serves Falcon Heights, responded to the call, verified the finding, and the St. Paul Police Department Bomb Squad was summoned.

In the meantime, a woman who became aware of the commotion notified St. Anthony police that she had discarded a defective pedometer in the bin after leaving a fitness center at the mall. It had just happened to fall into an old backpack.

It took a while, but the bomb squad verified that the item was harmless and there was no danger to anyone in the area.

“Basically, the system worked as it is supposed to,” said St. Anthony Police Chief John Ohl, citing the motto of the national public safety awareness campaign, “If you see something, say something.”

“However, in this day and age, I would also urge people to think about what they’re doing,” he added.

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