Suspicious package leads to evacuation of 1 building; police say it’s either hoax or crude incendiary device |

Suspicious package leads to evacuation of 1 building; police say it’s either hoax or crude incendiary device

Police called the package either a hoax or a crude electrolysis device.
Grass Valley Police Department

The suspicious package, spotted Monday morning across from the Grass Valley hospital, led to the evacuation of one building and orders to shelter in place for others.

Police said the public faced no threat from the device, which they later called either a hoax or a crude attempt to build an incendiary device.

The 9:09 a.m. discovery of the package was made when an employee was taking out the trash, Capt. Steve Johnson said. Police arrived and set up a cordon in front of the Business Services Center, which had about 15 employees evacuated from it. However, traffic continued as usual past Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

“It’s pretty sheltered, but we wanted to take precautions,” Capt. Steve Johnson said.

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According to Johnson, a nearby retaining wall and the device’s placement meant little damage would occur if an explosion did happen.

Members of the Placer County Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, who arrived on scene, used a robot to remove wires connecting the device. The package will remain with local police as they continue their investigation, Johnson said.

The device was disabled around 12:40 p.m.

The device — comprised of two containers, one holding what police theorized was gasoline and the other a white powder — was topped by 9-volt batteries with wires.

“They determined that it was not gasoline in the container. We don’t know what it is yet,” Johnson said.

Police determined the second container held salt, the captain said.

To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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