ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Home Depot in Nassau County was evacuated Wednesday after a suspicious device was found days after a pipe bomb was discovered in another of the retail giant’s stores in Suffolk County.
The entire plaza on Hempstead Turnpike, including a Marshalls, was evacuated in Elmont after reports of there being a suspicious device, possibly some sort of bomb, inside the Home Depot, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
Police had the area surrounded and there were increased patrols at Home Depots all around the area, because of this incident and the one just two days ago in Huntington Station, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
Elmont Home Depot workers were forced hundreds of feet away from their store and waited for police to investigate the device found at around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Debra Barrow was in a panic after being called to the store to pick up her mother, an employee.
“[They] told everyone to leave the store, leave the packages, leave everything and get out,” Barrow said.
The reaction from workers and customers in Elmont was very much the same as those subjected to the ordeal in Huntington Station on Monday.
“It’s scary. It’s frightening,” one person told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
“I’d like to keep coming here without any fear,” added Rose Halajian of Cold Spring Harbor.
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
The pipe bomb was found on a shelf by Home Depot employees after the presumed bomb maker informed the store of his intentions.
“There was a communication that was alerting the Home Depot to look in a certain part of the store,” Suffolk County Police Deputy Inspector Harold Jantzen said.
A source close to the investigation said the pipe bomb notification came in the form of a letter with a demand for $2 million. The source told CBS 2 it was some kind of extortion attempt, but Suffolk County Police did not elaborate further.
“I’m not going to comment on that right now,” Jantzen said.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports
Sources said police questioned a suspect in the Huntington incident, but don’t have enough evidence yet for a charge. Besides looking through surveillance video and conducting forensics tests, police said they will analyze the pipe bomb, which they called the real thing after detonating it.
“[The person] is clearly trying to send a message of some kind,” security expert Sal Lifrieri said.
Lifrieri is a former emergency management and intelligence officer for the NYPD.
“Clearly the person is motivated to be able to put a device like that in an establishment,” Lifrieri said, adding when asked if extortion could be a motive, “That could be a potential motive. It could also be someone who was an ex-employee.”
There was no immediate indication that Wednesday’s bomb scare was connected to Monday’s incident. Police were inside the Elmont store and were planning to do a test of the alarm system, but Home Depot, which issued a statement in response to the Huntington incident, did not immediately comment.
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