Police investigate threat, suspicious package at downtown Edmonton Tower

Edmonton police are trying to identify the man who made a threat and left a suspicious package at a downtown highrise Thursday morning.

Suspicious package turned out to be an empty duffel bag, police say

Traffic was diverted and a portion of 102nd Street was shut down as police investigated a suspicious package found Thursday at a downtown office tower. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Edmonton police are trying to identify the man they say made a threat and left a suspicious package at a downtown highrise on Thursday morning.

After a bomb squad was called in, police determined the package left at Edmonton Tower was an empty duffel bag, said Sgt. Curtis Maron.

"We ended up responding to a threat of an explosive," Maron said. "A security officer had some type of involvement with an unknown male, who he believed left this package."

Police were dispatched to the tower on the corner of 101st Street and 104th Avenue after receiving a 911 call from building security just before 7 a.m.

As of 8 a.m., the 29-storey office building in the Ice District had been evacuated by police.

The explosives disposal unit determined the duffel bag was empty, Maron said. 
Employees who arrived at the Edmonton Tower on Thursday morning found the building closed as police investigated a suspicious package. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)

"We still have to take the same precaution, we don't know what the contents are at the time when we first respond," he said.

Police are now working to identify and locate the man the security guard had contact with. 

If found the man will likely be charged with mischief, said Maron.

The City of Edmonton Service Centre in the building was closed and staff were turned away. In nearby office buildings, staff were told to keep away from windows, Maron said.

Numerous police officers, firefighters and EMS were called to the tower, and additional officers were called in to cover high-priority calls in the downtown, he said.

"Unless we can determine that it's a low-risk person making this threat, or comment, we have to treat it as if it's a live event," Maron said.

Transit riders were prevented from purchasing March bus passes at the service centre because of the closure, so the city announced February passes will be honoured Thursday and Friday.

The service centre was scheduled to reopen at 1 p.m.

Traffic was diverted on 102nd Street between 103rd Avenue and 104th Avenue, which was shut down for several hours. 
The Edmonton Tower was evacuated, and people in nearby officer towers were warned to stay back from windows, said Sgt. Curtis Maron. (CBC)