Mystery bag sparks major police operation
IT WAS the blue suitcase that locked down a main street of the Ipswich CBD.
An x-ray by the bomb squad of the bag revealed nothing more than personal belongings inside - but not before creating a scare for hundreds of workers and bystanders.
Yesterday, police cordoned off Bell St and evacuated nearby businesses after being advised about 7.20am that a man had left a bag unattended under a bus stop seat and then boarded a bus.
The incident was initially captured on Safe City cameras.
Icon Tower was evacuated, as were other businesses, and the bomb squad called to investigate.
But it turned out the bag held nothing dangerous, and everyone was soon back to work.
Police declared an emergent situation under the Public Safety Preservation Act between Limestone, Ellenborough and East sts with motorists advised to avoid the area.
The PSPA was revoked at 9.15am following the discovery the bag was not a threat. With the terror alert high and the G20 Summit approaching, security is a major issue for police.
Icon Tower workers congregated in d'Arcy Doyle Place.
One worker told the QT the mood was "very relaxed".
"We got a signal before 8am saying there was a suspicious package in Bell St and we had to evacuate the building," he said.
The man said police had a job to do and it was better to be safe than sorry, despite the inconvenience.
"I wouldn't think anyone would be targeting a town like Ipswich, but I think you have got to make sure," he said.
One resident, Des, had been moved on by police.
He said heightened security was part of daily life now.
"This is the way the world is going," he said.
"Ever since the terrorist attack in New York (in 2011) things are going from bad to worse."
Insp Keith McDonald said the man had put the bag down while waiting for the bus to arrive, but appeared to forget it when he boarded the bus.
There were concerns initially the man had left the bag deliberately, but police do not believe that to be the case.
They are keen to speak to the man about what occurred.
Insp McDonald said suspicious packages were not unusual.
"A lot of the time people leave shopping bags behind and they are easy to see inside, but this one wasn't.
"It was all taped up and we couldn't get into it without getting the bomb squad there.
"It was x-rayed...and when there was found to be nothing in it everyone was back to business."