Police investigate ‘suspicious’ package at JCC

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published April 23, 2013

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit and its members are unharmed after two “suspicious” briefcases near the center, on Drake Road, created concern April 16. The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad surveyed the center, 6600 W Maple Road, that day, West Bloomfield Police Lt. Tim Diamond confirmed recently.

“For precautionary measures, we evacuated the building,” Diamond said. “It turns out, the attaché cases were empty. We are fortunate that it turned out to be a false alarm, which is exactly what we want, as opposed to the alternative of having an explosion.”

Diamond said the Police Department received a call from the JCC at about 3:30 p.m., and after taking precautionary measures, which included evacuating the roughly 200 people inside, state police came.

“We responded (to the scene) first,” he said. “We don’t have equipment or capabilities to determine if it is a bomb or not.”

He added that the briefcases looked like they had been placed on the JCC property a “couple weeks ago,” but he said the Police Department could not confirm when or why the briefcases where left, although detectives are working on it.

Diamond said the briefcases, which he described as “very old and beat up,” have a possible owner; a man’s name was discovered inside the briefcases.

Diamond said he could only describe the man as being a resident of the area.

“There was no bomb there. That is the main thing,” he said.

He added that police contacted the possible owner of the briefcases.

Diamond said it took state police about 10 minutes to determine the briefcases did not contain bombs after they used an X-ray machine.

“Then they had bomb dogs sniff around, and they went inside the buildings and checked classrooms, and everything appeared to be OK,” he said. “They left, we took the cases and we were done.”

JCC Program Director Kim Raznik, who was in charge of the evacuation, said one of the security guards making his rounds found the briefcases — and because no one claimed them, the police was contacted.

“It was handled extremely methodically,” she said. “We take these things very seriously. These are procedures that we follow, and the West Bloomfield Police Department was very supportive.”