Stillwater streets reopen after bomb investigation at bank; suspect held

Stillwater bomb threat
After a robbery suspect implied he had an explosive device at a U.S. Bank branch in Stillwater, police officers evacuated a two-block radius around the bank at 213 E. Chestnut St. on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The suspect fled and was captured.
MPR Photo/Mike Edgerly

Traffic returned to normal in downtown Stillwater late Saturday afternoon after streets were blocked off for hours as law enforcement investigated a potential bomb threat.

The incident started at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday when a man entered the U.S. Bank and displayed a device, Stillwater Chief of Police John Gannaway said. The man dropped the device and left the building with an undisclosed amount of money.

Gannaway said the man was walking to his car when he was spotted by Stillwater police officers and apprehended two blocks from the bank.

For several hours afterward, authorities closed streets within a two-block radius as they called in the St. Paul Police Department bomb squad to investigate the potential threat. Gannaway said it was a difficult traffic disruption on a busy day.

"You have to understand you have a device that needs to be examined by the bomb squad, No. 1, but then there were two other crime scenes," he said. "His vehicle was a crime scene and he was staying at the Lowell Inn in downtown Stillwater. And so we had to treat all three of them as crime scenes. We actually had the bomb squad clear all three locations."

Police initially said the device was believed to be inactive or a fake, but Gannaway would not confirm that information.

"We're going to hold off a little bit. We have quite a bit more investigation to do with the whole incident," he said. "So we're not going to confirm details like that at this time."

Gannaway said the man was in custody at the Washington County Jail and will likely be charged in the next few days.

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