DOWNTOWN — A suspicious package found near Panera Bread on Wilshire Boulevard and Fifth Street on Friday prompted a call to a bomb squad to remove the item, which proved to be nothing more than a bag of cement wrapped in brown tape, police said.
The object was discovered about 7 a .m. underneath newsracks on Fifth Street, said SMPD Lt. Dan Salerno. Traffic was routed away from the area and 30 people were evacuated from a nearby building while the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s bomb squad used a robot to rip open the package, revealing its non-lethal contents.
Salerno believes the cement was used to weigh down a sign advertising office space for rent at a recently remodeled building just east of Panera Bread. Officers found a similar cement package resting at the base of a for lease sign, leading them to that conclusion.
“Someone must have moved it during the night,” Salerno said of the package. “In situations like this, we have to take every precaution.”
Streets were reopend around 10 a.m.