Suspicious package found near Sarasota Memorial not a threat / Investigation ongoing

SARASOTA, Fla. – July 22, 2015 – 1:45 p.m.

At approximately 8 a.m., an employee with Sarasota Memorial Public Safety noticed a suspicious package near the intersection of U.S. 41 (South Tamami Trail) and Arlington Street in Sarasota. Sarasota Police Officers were notified and responded immediately.

Due to the nature of the item, location and it’s similarities to a possible explosive device, U.S. 41 between Waldemere Street and Hillview Street were closed for the safety of the public. Businesses on the east side of U.S. 41 were evacuated and patients at Sarasota Memorial on the west side of U.S. 41 were relocated to other areas in the hospital.

Through their investigation, Officers determined the suspicious package to be a birdhouse type device that had been altered. The device had a plastic jug attached, fuses coming out of the top and wires coming out of the bottom of the device.

The Sarasota Police Department Explosive Materials Unit and the Criminal Investigation Division were brought to the scene. With assistance from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, two robots were sent to inspect the device. The Criminal Investigation Division received information about the device but worked to verify and confirm the information before any action was taken. The cameras on the robots were able to show Officers the device was not a threat. The hospital was cleared and then emergency personnel left the area.

In addition to response by the Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota County Fire Department and Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety responded and assisted.

Officers are confident the public is not in any danger. The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Dan Riley at 941-954-7062 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com