Canton police chief praises county residents for quick action with suspicious bag
Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 5:57 pm

By JIMMY LAWTON

CANTON – Canton Police Chief Victor Rycroft credited St. Lawrence County residents for reporting a suspicious book-bag Wednesday, even though it turned out to be a false alarm.

"It was a good ending," he said. "We are thankful the public is paying attention."

A bomb scare at the St. Lawrence County Human Services building ended with the discovery of someone’s lunch rather than a bomb, but Rycroft said he would prefer people report incidents rather than ignore suspicions.

Rycroft said the bombing at the Boston Marathon that took place just two days before obviously put many people in an increased state of awareness, but added that his department was not being inundated with false alarm calls.

"This was the first one that was in a very public area. I'm glad that everyone is cognizant; we obviously aren't going to tell people not to call. They should report suspicious activity," he said.

The report came in from the Department of Motor Vehicles office, on State Rt. 310, when police were told a "suspicious book-bag had been abandoned at the office."

Rycroft said the backpack contained a juice of some kind and an object with a tinfoil lid. The hand crafted cover apparently appeared abnormal enough for someone to call the police.

The ensuing precautions led to the evacuation of the buildings. Employees were sent home and a state police bomb squad was called to the scene.

In the end authorities said the backpack contained a soft drink can wrapped in foil.

"After the state police bomb squad came, they X-rayed the book-bag and determined there was noting dangerous in it," he said. "Almost simultaneously, the couple that it belonged to returned to the scene to recover the pack," he said.

Rycroft said they were questioned at the scene initially, but were not charged with anything as they had done nothing wrong.