A bomb scare at the Lewisburg Walmart Thursday was defused when a suspicious package abandoned in the store's parking lot was found to contain nothing but old blankets.

City police responded around 9:24 a.m. to a call reporting a large box wrapped up like a Christmas gift had apparently been deliberately placed in a shopping cart area only minutes earlier.

“A concerned citizen reported it to Walmart,” Lewisburg Police Chief Chris Teubert announced during an impromptu press conference after the situation had been resolved. He said the decision to bring in a bomb technician from Martinsburg was made “in an abundance of caution,” given the circumstances.

“It turned out to be nothing, and that’s what we like,” Teubert said.

Officer J.A. Vance reported on the box’s contents. “It appeared to be old, hand-crocheted blankets or something of that sort,” he said.

Teubert said he has surveillance video of the person who dropped off the package. While it does not appear any crime was committed, the chief said he intends to follow up with that individual.

With people somewhat on edge in light of recent violent incidents elsewhere, Teubert said even an otherwise innocuous package can easily be seen as threatening.

“People need to think before they’re discarding a large box like that in a public place,” he said.

The Walmart store and parking lot were evacuated shortly after police arrived on the scene. When the bomb technician gave the all-clear, the store reopened at around 2 p.m., Teubert said.

Assisting city police in the response were the West Virginia State Police, Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office, Lewisburg Volunteer Fire Department and Greenbrier County Emergency Ambulance.

— Email: talvey@register-herald.com

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