Main Street in Orono was closed from Juniper Street to Island Avenue Sunday afternoon as authorities investigated a suspicious device.
It proved to be harmless.
“About 10:50am, I received a call from one of my officers that a device had been seen on the side of the road laying next to a telephone poll that had the potential to be an explosive device. It looked suspicious enough to him,” said Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing.
Orono PD blocked off Main Street with the help of the Penobscot Sheriffs Department and Veazie and UMaine Police Departments and they called in the the Bangor Police Department’s Bomb Squad to investigate.
“They came up looked at it with their robot. It still looked suspicious to them as well. They couldn’t determine if it was a prank or part of a Halloween costume, so it was disrupted with one of their devices and it broke up into pieces across Main Street. It turned out to be something probably from a Halloween costume perhaps or maybe just a prank,” said Chief Ewing.
“I didn’t hear anything initially, but probably 10 minutes ago there was a bang, so maybe they detonated something I guess,” said Matt Cote.
Matt Cote was one of many neighbors who were asked to evacuate their homes. Having lived in Orono for three years, initially he was surprised something like this could happen.
“Just wondering what was going on. Now it’s just boredom. The Pats don’t kick off til 4:25pm, but all the pregame stuff would be nice to catch. Hopefully soon we’ll get back in there,” said Cote.
The road reopened and people were able to return to their homes around 2pm.
While the device turned out to be harmless, police say it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“There’s no way to know for sure even when you’re looking very closely with a camera that it was safe, so it was suspicious enough that we had to make sure it was safe and render it safe with a device. Whether it was just a prank or a harmless Halloween costume or not, it was a very good exercise working together with the other agencies,” said Chief Ewing.
Police say it’s unlikely they’ll be able to press any charges, but they wish someone had reported it earlier.
“People did come out while we were dealing with this to say that they walked by it the day before. The whole ‘see something, say something’ thing comes into play there. Don’t assume that it’s safe, we’d rather have the phone call and we’d rather go through an exercise like this then find out it was a real device and have somebody get hurt,” said Chief Ewing.