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Suspect package closes downtown Boston block

A Boston bomb squad officer sprawled out as he examined the device.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A Boston bomb squad officer sprawled out as he examined the device.

Boston police closed down traffic on a block near Government Center to investigate a suspicious package found on a sidewalk near Congress and New Chardon streets, police officials said.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Police do not believe the package was an explosive device.

A police officer discovered the package — a 1-foot-by-1-foot box containing visible metal electrical components, wires, and a powder-like substance — by a trash can near the Government Center garage at approximately 10:30 a.m., according to Captain Thomas Lee of the Boston Police Department. He said the department bomb squad, as well as investigators from the Department of Homeland Security, responded to the scene.

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The fifth annual TD Bank Mayor’s Cup, a cycling race that cuts down Congress Street and features about 200 cyclists, was delayed several minutes as police ensured the box could not cause any destruction by “disrupting” it with a water cannon, according to Lee.

“We couldn’t take any chances with it being near a garage and with a large public event next to it,” said Lee. He added that police do not believe the package was an explosive device, but they plan to inspect its contents further.

Lee said some people hoping to watch the race were probably frustrated by the temporary closing of the parking garage. Several businesses were also shut, as employees, customers, and pedestrians were forced to evacuate the block during the investigation.

“Even the EMT put on a bulletproof vest, so you knew something was up,” said Ryan Reardon, a parking attendant for P&P Parking at 65 Merrimack St. who was asked by the police, along with others, to move further away from the scene.

Reardon and several other people said they heard what sounded like a firework or a gunshot, but they could not be sure if the sound was police destroying the package.

Police would not say whether they believe the suspicious package is in any way connected to the recent string of bomb threats at five Boston CVS locations.

Alyssa Creamer can be reached at
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