Suspicious Niagara Falls backpack appears safe after police check

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A suspicious backpack caused a scare in Niagara Falls Monday afternoon. Six law enforcement agencies responded to Niagara St. between 1st and 3rd, after a city ranger reported the bag to police.

Erie County and NYS Police bomb squads were called to scene around 1:30 p.m.

Officials closed that portion of Niagara St. to traffic and sectioned off the nearby Sheraton parking lot with police tape.

Niagara Falls Police Chief Bryan DalPorto told News 4 bomb sniffing dogs checked out the area and then two police robots were sent to inspect the backpack. He said every precaution was needed.

“With everything that’s going on nationally, there obviously was a backpack unattended, left next to an electrical box with four big electoral wires,” he said. “It was also a size that was unusual.”

It was a camping backpack with a number of pockets, according to Chief DalPorto.

He said once the robots did tests, two members of the bomb squads took a look inside. They found personal items, including a cell phone.

The scare comes after explosive devices were found in New York City and New Jersey over the weekend.

Chief DalPorto said it weighs on their minds.

“However, this is what we do on a daily basis, especially in a city like Niagara Falls, a tourist based city,” said DalPorto. “We certainly could be targeted for those kinds of attacks.”

The owners of Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours watched the scene unfold, the business is located nearby. Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Pat Proctor, told us they are on heightened alert.

“Obviously with everything that’s been reported over the last 48 hours between here, New York City and New Jersey, you wonder what if?,” said Proctor. “There’s no such thing as overreacting now, better be safe than sorry.”

Chief DalPorto said the vigilance of Niagara Falls Police and city employees showed on Monday. Even though didn’t turn out as a threat, the FBI is going to look at the contents of the backpack.

Niagara St. reopened just before 5:30 p.m.

Chief DalPorto said this is the second suspicious package discovered in the city this year.

 

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