Suspicious Package Found at Bank Harmless

Newton, Miss. Emergency personnel responded to the report of a 'suspicious package' in Newton Tuesday. Precautions were taken but it turned out to be nothing dangerous.

The discovery was made around 8 a.m. when a manager at the Newton County Bank on Highway 15 noticed the mid-size brown box placed outside the front door.

"It wasn't addressed to anyone," said Police Chief Harvey Curry. "There was no label on the package."

When bank employees alerted the police department, Curry says he, along with the narcotics agent for his department, and the fire chief went to the bank. Upon arrival they visually surveyed the box and decided to evacuate the building, rope off the area and call in a bomb squad out of Clinton.

"I was coming here to meet Mr. Blackwell at 10 and I drove up and saw all of the yellow tape and said, 'My gosh, what in the world has happened?" said customer Betty Dolan.

"I was shocked," said customer Bob Blackwell. "You don't get a bank roped off every day."

No customers were inside when the bank was evacuated. Prior to the bomb squad arriving just before 11 a.m., Newton police also evacuated an auto parts store next door and shut down the portion of Highway 15 from the interstate to the Highway 80 intersection. All non-emergency personnel were kept at least 1500 feet away from the building.

"If you don't do anything and something does happen people will look at it that way," said Curry. "We're just being safe."

After X-raying the contents of the box, the bomb squad determined at noon Tuesday that the box was safe. Its contents turned out to be magazines.

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