Children in Linden were first to find suspicious device determined to be a hoax

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Investigation into suspicious device in Linden
Toni Yates has the latest on the suspicious device discovered in Linden.

LINDEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- Children were the first to discover a suspicious device Tuesday night in Linden that led to evacuations and a significant emergency response before police determined it was not an explosive.

Authorities say some kids playing outside first noticed the device, which was attached to a phone booth outside Quick Buy Food Store.

Law enforcement evacuated two nearby apartment buildings, and after determining the package was a hoax, people were allowed to return to their homes about an hour later.

First responders take no chances in a town where last September, terror suspect Ahmad Khan Rahimi was captured after a shootout with police.

The Union County Prosecutor's Office is leading the investigation to find out who was behind the bomb hoax. It appeared to be connected to a payphone with wires and to have dynamite inside. The FBI is also involved because an official said the device "looked authentic."

Krunn Patel, a clerk at the convenience store, said the children informed him of the device.

"Some kids came and told us," he said, with another clerk, Kash Patel, adding they described it as looking like "a little package."

On Wednesday morning, Linden Mayor Derek Armstead reassured the city on Facebook that there was "no further danger to the public."

"Our law enforcement personnel will remain vigilant in the days and weeks ahead to find out the source of this elaborate hoax causing a great deal of disturbance and tying up resources and personnel," he said in a post.

Anyone with information regarding the device is asked to call (908) 474-8537.