A suspicious package in Times Square, New York caused yet another bomb scare and resulted in an evacuation.
The suspicious package, which turned out to be a green cooler that contained only water bottles, was found in front of the Marriott Marquis hotel at 46th and Broadway at around 12:45 p.m. This is near where authorities say Faisal Shahzad of Pakistani descent left a car bomb that failed to detonate six days before.
At around 1 p.m., authorities barricaded off 46th Street and Broadway in front of the hotel. The barricades were removed at approximately 2:45 p.m.
After the car bomb incident on May 1, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York acknowledged that terrorists have targeted New York.
“We have to take every precaution, as you know, because we remain a prime target for terrorists,” he said. “That’s something all New Yorkers understand and it’s something that we need Washington to understand as well.
“We will continue to doing everything we possibly can to protect New Yorkers from terrorist attacks. We have, as you know, built the most comprehensive and sophisticated counterterrorism operation of any local police force in the world.”
The NYPD 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.”
On an average day, police get 90 to 100 reports of a suspicious package. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said there were more than 145 reports on Thursday alone.
A package discovered earlier Friday near the area where the car bomb was discovered turned out to be someone’s lunch.
On Wednesday, the bomb squad was called out to look at a truck with a strong odor of gasoline abandoned on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, but nothing dangerous was found inside.
“People are being more vigilant, and that’s a good thing,” Browne said.