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Downtown Wheatland bomb scare defused

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 7th, 2013

Photos/Adam Louis/Courtesy photo. (Photo 1) Platte County law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to the scene of a suspicious, transmitter-like device found near Wells Fargo Bank on Gilchrist Street in Wheatland Monday afternoon. Most of downtown was cordoned off. (Photo 2) This was the discovered device. Police are investigating.

WHEATLAND – A suspicious transmitter-like device that triggered a downtown shutdown did not contain and was not associated with a bomb or any explosives, according to police investigations.

Platte County emergency personnel responded to a call at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday when a resident discovered the object between a trash can and a planter near Wells Fargo Bank in Wheatland.

Wheatland Police Chief Randy Chesser said Platte County emergency dispatchers called businesses along Gilchrist Street to advise them to close and clear the buildings. He said half of the businesses called were either already closed or closing at the time of the emergency.

Emergency officials cordoned off most of downtown Wheatland: Gilchrist between Eighth and 10th streets, Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets between Water and Maple streets and Water and Maple streets between Eighth and 10th streets.

Chesser notified Homeland Security of the situation. The Laramie County Sheriff's Office/Cheyenne Police Department joint bomb squad arrived between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“They disassembled the device, and it was not explosive or attached to explosives,” Chesser said. “Downtown was reopened at about 9 p.m.”

The device was a transmitter of some sort, Chesser said, but the source of it is unknown as of press time.

Chesser said the police department will follow up with stores and workers in the area to see what they may know about it.

“We're going to check with the thrift store to see if anybody may have dropped off a dog training collar or something like that,” he said. “It's probably an innocent thing; someone may have been unloading and just overlooked it.”

Chesser said in light of incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings, law enforcement takes extra caution in situations involving suspicious packages or devices. He added emergency officials were concerned about the transmitter because it could have been used for an explosive device.

“We're going to follow up and make sure this wasn't an intentional act,” Chesser said.

The Wheatland Police Department, Platte County Sheriff's Office, State Parks And Historic Sites officers, Eastern Wyoming Ambulance Services, Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department and the Wyoming Highway Patrol were all on the scene this afternoon.

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