A suspicious note found in a trash can outside Walmart in Plank Road Commons shopping center Friday evening led to the closing of a large section of parking lot - keeping some shoppers from their cars for 2 hours.
Someone searching for an article they'd accidentally thrown away found the note.
The bomb scare ended about 9:45 p.m., after another person who'd thrown the note into the can when he found it lying on the parking lot returned to the store to explain - after seeing news of the hubbub on Facebook, according to Allegheny Township Police Chief Richard Books.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Dozens of Walmart shoppers, including (from left)?Peggy Cox and Joe Stuppio, both of Tyrone, and Rachele Tepsic of Altoona were denied access to their cars as police investigated a suspicious note Friday.
That person returned around the time the Penn State University Police Department bomb squad arrived, leading to an examination of the note - which said something like "there's a bomb in here" - and a check of the rest of the trash can contents and surrounding area revealed nothing, Books said.
Police continue to investigate, using surveillance video and a name provided by witnesses they interviewed to find who had left the note on the ground, Books said.
Placing the note could carry a charge such as terroristic threats, according to Books.
Authorities strung crime scene tape from cart corrals to create a safety cordon with a radius of 100 yards from the can.
It's the standard distance, state police Trooper Kenneth Benton said.
Authorities also closed the Walmart entrance closest to the grocery section, as it was within the cordoned-off area.
Around 8:30 p.m., George Conrad of Tyrone was among about 70 shoppers waiting outside the opposite entrance - which remained open throughout the incident - for authorities to remove the police tape.
"They're holding my car hostage," he said.
His wife was inside baby-sitting their groceries, including ice cream, which doubtlessly was melting by then.
Walmart had offered to put their items in a cooler, but that would have been too much trouble, he said.
They had left the store just after the alarm sounded.
He tried to talk one of the authorities into letting him get to his car without success.
"I just want to go home," he said.
But not badly enough to call his son or daughter to get them, he said.
After the cordon came down, an employee getting things in order outside said, "What a night, huh?"
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.