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Mall Evacuated After Bomb Threat

By Lookout Staff

July 19 -- Some 2,000 people were evacuated from Santa Monica Place Monday afternoon after mall security, responding to a series of bomb threats, found a suspicious package, police said.

Santa Monica police cordoned off the streets around the indoor mall until shortly before 8 p.m., when the Los Angeles County Sheriff's bomb squad concluded that the package was safe, police said.

"We opened pedestrian and vehicle traffic," Fabrega said. "It's up to mall officials to allow access into the mall."

The mall reopened at around 8 p.m. until its regular 9 p.m. closing time, according to security.

Police responded to the scene at 4:30, after mall security received several "telephonic bomb threats," Fabrega said.

The calls informed the mall that there was a package containing a bomb inside Robinson's May, one of the mall's two anchor department stores, police said.

"As they (security) were doing a quick search of the area, they found the package," Fabrega said.

As the search was underway, mall security continued to receive" additional telephonic bomb threats, he said.

Police evacuated the building and cordoned off the area, Fabrega said.

For some two-and-a-half hours, police vehicles and parking meter carts blocked access to Santa Monica Place, which was surrounded with yellow police tape.

Mall workers, many of them in their uniforms, sat on the pavement as the bomb squad arrived and searched the 25-year-old building.

During rush hour, traffic was heavy on Ocean Avenue, the only north-south exit route west of 5th street, witnesses said.

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