Suspicious backpack deemed safe, but possibly criminal

Ward Avenue
Ward Avenue
Police shut down Ward Avenue
Police shut down Ward Avenue
Police directing traffic on Ward Avenue
Police directing traffic on Ward Avenue
Kent Harada
Kent Harada
Honolulu Police Department Special Services Robot
Honolulu Police Department Special Services Robot

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A suspicious backpack shut down Ward Avenue on Wednesday.

Honolulu police won't say what they found inside except that it could bring criminal charges.

The backpack was found at the parking lot of Hawaiian Electric Company's (HECO) operations facility.

Police would not say what made it look suspicious, but did say it was laying right next to a yellow sign.

"The way, the manner that the backpack was left in the parking lot was really suspicious," said Capt. Kent Harada of the Honolulu Police Department.

That's all police would say about why the backpack looked fishy.

HECO says one of their security guards spotted it, and because it was placed at an unexpected place where no one was around, HECO says the guard alerted police.

It was reported around 2:36 p.m.

Then came the lock-down.

Police blocked Ward Avenue in both directions, from Kapiolani Boulevard to King Street.

The Special Services Division brought in its armored truck and its robot to check the bag.

Next came a loud boom.

"Just a water cannon to check the bag, to wet down the bag is what it was so that's the loud noise that you heard," said Harada.

Police say the canon split open the backpack.

It fired high-pressured water to slow down any chemical reactions in case there were explosives inside.

But police found no bombs, and no hazardous items.

Officers re-opened Ward Avenue by 6:00 p.m.

One officer walked out of the parking lot with two paper bags carrying what was inside the backpack.

He would not show the items, nor reveal what they are.

Police would only say they're now trying to track down the owner, and may open a criminal investigation.

"There's some things in the bag that we're continuing our investigation," said Harada.

Investigators say they may be able to reveal what was inside the backpack as early as this Friday.

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