Abandoned water cooler causes Times Square scare
By COLLEEN LONG and VERENA DOBNIK
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NEW YORK — Police cleared streets around Times Square on Friday and called in the bomb squad after finding a cooler and a shopping bag left on a sidewalk about a block from where a failed car bomb was found over the weekend. They opened streets to traffic after finding out the cooler contained only water bottles.
A nearby shopping bag left in a flower pot had books and a gift wrapped in pink tissue paper.
Police had earlier cordoned off a pedestrian mall and nearby streets with yellow tape around 1:15 p.m., while yelling "Get back, get back" at onlookers and guiding bomb-sniffing dogs through the area.
The bomb squad X-rayed the soft-sided green cooler found on the pedestrian mall to determine, "in an abundance of caution," whether it posed a threat, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
Six NYPD officers opened the cooler, took out the contents and carried it off about an hour later, when the department said there was no threat. In responding, they noticed the second bag which in the flower pot which turned out to be full of books.
"It was exciting, but it seemed a little silly, after all — a cooler that somebody left there," said psychiatrist Thor Bergersen, of Newton, Mass., who watched the drama from the eighth floor of the Marriott Marquis hotel.
The department has had a 30 percent uptick in the number of suspicious package reports since the failed bombing in Times Square.
"This is something that happens fairly regularly," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday. "When you have a major event, the reports of suspicious packages will go up. I think to a certain extent, people are becoming more suspicious, more vigilant and that results in more calls."
Gotta love the paranoid people.....this is really quite funny......and sad that this is what is the norm nowadays.......