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Suspicious Package Prompts 2-Hour Lockdown At Thompson Center

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A suspicious suitcase prompted a lockdown at the James Thompson Center. (Credit: Carlos Ocampo)

A suspicious suitcase prompted a lockdown at the James Thompson Center. (Credit: Carlos Ocampo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The work day was interrupted for state employees and people trying to do business at the Thompson Center this afternoon due a bomb scare.

WBBM’s Nancy Harty reports plenty of people killed time smoking and one man was hoping to get back inside to register his snowmobile. Restaurant employees shared pictures of the black suitcase left near the food court that set off suspicions prompting the two-hour lockdown.

Witnesses say the drama unfolded when a man walked into the food court area here, dropped luggage on the ground, made the sign of the cross, then walked away.

Alfredo Alfano, the economic development director for Ald. John Arena spoke with CBS 2 during the lockdown while he was on the seventh floor.

“I do wonder if it is a bomb, or a bomb threat or a bomb scare, why they’re locking us in and not evacuating us,” said Alfredo Alfano.

Those who work in the food court area were told by Illinois State Police to leave.

“All of a sudden, we noticed there was a suitcase in the middle of the foyer and all of a sudden we were just looking at it and looking at it and then the maintenance people and the people that clean up and the security started letting people know to evacuate downstairs,” said Hugo Curcuz.

The Chicago Police Bomb and Arson unit, the Chicago Fire Department Hazardous Incident team and State Police dogs were used to investigate the luggage.

“It was pretty scary at first, because the first thing you think about is 9-11. So it was really scary for a minute there,” said Curcuz.

In the end, it was determined, the luggage was harmless.

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