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Voting at Westminster polling site temporarily halted after ‘suspicious package’ is found, then deemed safe

A suspicious package found in a parking lot near a Westminster polling site on Saturday halted voting for about two hours before a bomb squad determined the box was safe, authorities said.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad said the package was not explosive or dangerous at 6 p.m., allowing authorities to reopen the area to the public, said Westminster police Cmdr. Alan Iwashita.

In a tweet about the incident at 6:28 p.m., Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said “we have clearance that it is now safe and have reopened for voters.”

An employee for the County Registrar of Voters had seen an individual walk up to the parking lot adjacent to the Westminster Community Services building on 8200 Westminster Boulevard, which is serving as an official voting center, Iwashita said.

The individual placed a box, about 18 inches long, at the parking lot, he said.

The employee called police about 4:06 p.m. Westminster police arrived, along with the Sheriff’s bomb squad to investigate the package, Iwashita said.

Authorities halted voting at the site and evacuated the immediate area on Westminster Boulevard between Newland and Jackson streets, police said in a news release.

After about two hours, the bomb squad determined the package did not pose a threat and police reopened the area.

The box contained miscellaneous trash and was described as an item one would find near a dumpster, said Westminster police Sgt. Andy Stowers.

Stowers said there was no indication that the box was intended to disrupt voting at the site, and police considered the case closed.

Voting centers in Orange County were scheduled to operate until 8 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Registrar of Voters website.

Source: Orange County Register

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