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Bomb threat cleared at Downtown Crossing station

Law enforcement investigated a box this morning at Downtown Crossing station that a man claimed to be a bomb.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Law enforcement investigated a box this morning at Downtown Crossing station that a man claimed to be a bomb.

A 39-year-old homeless man sparked a major law enforcement response Wednesday when he told an MBTA worker that he was carrying a bomb in the box under his arm as he walked through Downtown Crossing Station, officials said.

The incident began around 8:30 a.m. and led the MBTA to shut down the Orange Line while the Transit Police Explosives Detection Unit examined the box, which the man had left on the northbound platform, officials said. Investigators determined there was no threat.

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Red Line trains bypassed the station while investigators examined the box. Transit Police Lieutenant Richard Sullivan said that after speaking to the man, he concluded that he was in need of a mental health evaluation.

The man, whose name was not released because he was not charged with a crime, remained in a Boston hospital Wednesday night.

“He never denied saying it,’’ Sullivan said of the man. “I don’t think he understood the enormity of the response to that statement. There were Transit Police, Boston police, Boston firefighters” and Boston Emergency Medical Services ambulances on standby.

“The whole place was roped off,’’ Sullivan said. “In an abundance of caution, we have to run these things out.’’

Shortly before 9:30 a.m., Transit Police ended the inspection of the box, deeming it safe. That allowed service on the Orange Line to resume and Red Line passengers to get off at Downtown Crossing.

Sullivan credited the MBTA worker for contacting police about the box, which she believed had a wire protruding from it.

He said that bomb technicians found only “benign’’ items inside the box, which was about one foot square in size. “She did the right thing,’’ Sullivan said, adding that T workers have been trained to “say something” if they “see something.’’

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@
. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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