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Suspicious package found to be harmless

February 10, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Police were called to City Hall Monday morning for a suspicious-looking package that had been sent to a city spokeswoman, but officers determined its contents were harmless, Hagerstown City Police Lt. William C. Wright said.

City Spokeswoman Karen Giffin said at first the package did not appear suspicious to her, but when she opened it there was a clear plastic bag containing what she thought was potpourri, which is often used as an air freshener.

The package was not expected, did not contain a letter, and the address was handwritten, Giffin and Wright said.

"We weren't alarmed when we received it, we just wanted to follow proper procedure. ... We want to check everything out," Giffin said.

An assistant called the police substation and, following procedure, police stopped radio transmissions briefly. Radio signals could accidentally set off a bomb, Wright said.

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Wright said because the package had already been opened, he was able to look inside without disturbing the package. Had it not been opened, the building likely would have been closed to allow a more thorough investigation, he said.

The contents of the clear plastic bag turned out to be flower seeds, and a videotape, which appeared to be a promotional item for breast cancer awareness, Wright said.

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