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Suspicious packages at San Diego Union-Tribune found to be harmless after brief evacuation

Suspicious packages at San Diego Union-Tribune found to be harmless after brief evacuation
The building housing the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and other tenants was evacuated as San Diego Police investigated a suspicious package on Wednesday. (Alejandro Tamayo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Suspicious packages reported outside a building that houses the San Diego Union-Tribune were found to be harmless, authorities said Wednesday morning.

Several floors of the building on 600 B Street, which houses the newspaper, WeWork offices and a branch of Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris’ office, briefly evacuated and a hazardous materials team was called to investigate the area of 6th and B Streets, said Lt. Kevin Wadhams.

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Police were called to the building at about 8:15 a.m., when a bystander saw the stack of packages on a table and flagged down a lieutenant, he said. Officials closed 6th Avenue between A and B Streets.The five boxes contained a mix of items, including a shoe, two children’s books, a football, an empty bag of chips and a hat, Wadhams said.

They were not addressed to anyone, and after reviewing video surveillance footage, Wadhams said an unknown person dropped off the boxes at about 1:45 a.m.

Union-Tribune immigration reporter Kate Morrissey described the boxes as priority mail packages positioned near an orange pump.

The Secret Service reported Wednesday that it intercepted potential explosive devices addressed to Hillary Clinton and President Obama, and CNN reported a third device sent to its Manhattan bureau, prompting an evacuation.

It’s unclear whether the San Diego evacuation was related. “It was like, there’s news happening outside of our building, so let’s report the news,” Morrissey said.

Shortly before 8 a.m., Fresno police were called to investigate a suspicious box in the parking lot of a building that houses TV stations CBS47 and KSEE 24, said Fresno Police Department Lt. Mark Hudson.

About an hour later, the department’s bomb unit determined that the Mac computer monitor box was not a threat, Hudson said. “It just had some trash and scrap metal inside,” he said. “It was probably just someone leaving their junk in a box.”

LAPD Deputy Chief Horace Frank said the department was reaching out to some organizations and individuals to make sure they were on alert and offering assistance.

11:05 a.m.: This article was updated with the packages found to be harmless.

10:05 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with additional details and background.

This article was originally published at 9 a.m.

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