October 31, 2012

Man Charged in Connection With Commons Bomb Scare

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An Ithaca man has been arrested in connection with a suspicious package that was found outside the Bank of America building on the Ithaca Commons on Oct. 11, police said.

Following a joint investigation by the Ithaca Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Matthew Whitney, 37, was charged with “placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree.”Several agencies, including Ithaca Police and the New York State Police Bomb Squad, responded to the Ithaca Commons just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 11 following a report of the suspicious package.Police initially treated the package as a “possible explosive device,” according a city press release. The Commons was closed to pedestrian traffic and evacuated until later that evening. Numerous businesses in the area were forced to close temporarily. The suspicious package was ultimately determined to be “non-threatening,” according to a city press release.Whitney was arraigned in Ithaca City Court Wednesday and released pending further court action, according to IPD.The charge of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree is a class E felony.

Original Author: Danielle Sochaczevski