UHP, SLCPD respond to Capitol after report of suspicious package

Posted at 11:38 AM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 21:05:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Police were forced to shut down the area right in front of the Utah State Capitol building along 300 North Friday afternoon after they were alerted to a bomb threat.

A bomb squad was on scene for hours with a dog and a robot to scope out the suspicious package, which was a trash can sitting in the median.

The can's lid was zip-tied shut and the can had some holes in it.

“We take a look at what we have in front of us and determine the best way to deal with it, and that’s what we did here, and that sometimes takes awhile to get the resources out,” said Det. Greg Wilking of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Police tried to X-ray the can but couldn't see what was inside. A dog sniffed it but didn't pick up on anything. Shortly after one o'clock, an officer went in to cut the zip ties. A robot then moved in to knock over the can in an effort to see if anything would blow up.

“Turns out we found trash,” Wilking said.

Police said they obtained some grainy video from the capitol of someone putting the can there "a day or so ago," but Wilking said it didn't seem to be intentionally suspicious.

“It just looks like a case of maybe the garbage can having come off of somebody’s car and somebody just setting it up there in the roadway where maybe that person would see it again and realize that’s where they lost it,” he said.

Wilking added everyone there was glad things turned out the way they did.

“It’s not frustrating," he said. "We get to use our training, and it’s a good outcome for this situation. We would rather it be just trash all the time. We’re happy to have it be nothing instead of something major."

Police cleared the scene and reopened the road around 1:30 Friday afternoon.