The scare came when someone saw a person leave a black briefcase outside a lower level Glenwood Avenue entrance, and then run away.
Raleigh police joined Crabtree Mall police in the investigation. Mall management began the evacuation around 1;30 p.m. to be on the safe side. People who were inside the mall waited in the parking lot.
"With current trends, when someone puts a package or a briefcase near a place where there is a lot of people, then seeing [someone] running away from it, then its alerts suspicion to people, and they should be suspicious in this day and time," says Capt. D.S. Overman of the Raleigh Police Department.
Raleigh police sealed off all entrances to the mall, which created backups on Glenwood Avenue, particularly in the eastbound lane.Trafficwas tied up for several hours.
Inside the mall, it was two and a half hours of lost business.
"It's to err on the side of caution and safety. We are here for the public's enjoyment so it is important to be safe and to really look out for our customers," says mall spokesperson Michelle Cely.
Police used a robotic device to recover the briefcase, which was found to be harmless.
"We don't consider it a waste of time," says Overman. "We appreciate it when people call when they see something suspicious. We encourage people to call."
No one called in a threat to the mall. The bag was found by someone and reported to mall police, who then called the Raleigh Police Department.
This is the only evacuation due to a suspicious package that mall officials remember. Police are still hoping to figure out who the black briefcase belongs to.
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