Parts of Mainstreet in New Town were evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a “suspicious package” was reported to authorities.
At 3:11 p.m., James City County sent out an message alerting locals to avoid the 5100 block of Main Street near Barnes & Noble Booksellers because a suspicious package had been reported.
That didn’t take long.
By 3:15 p.m., the issue was resolved, said Kenny Driscoll, fire marshal for the James City County Fire Department.
A passerby reported finding an unattended briefcase sitting on a bench outside the Barnes & Noble at 2:08 p.m. Officers started to evacuate the store and surrounding area and dispatched the Newport News Fire Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit to investigate, Driscoll said.
But at 3:15 p.m., before the unit could arrive or all of the employees were evacuated, the man who owned the briefcase came forward and opened the object to show there was nothing dangerous inside, Driscoll said.
He added that what had made the object appear suspicious to begin with was that it was left unattended.
Driscoll said the man had been sitting on the bench and working on his laptop while enjoying the nice weather but had simply forgotten his briefcase when he left.