"Suspicious package" found at Union Square did not contain a bomb


Police closed off Union Square this afternoon, Thu/17, while the San Francisco Police Department’s bomb squad investigated the contents of a “suspicious package” located there just before noon.

At 1:49 pm, police sent an update, saying: “The suspicious package at Union Square has been secured. There was no merit to a hazardous device. Streets are being reopened.”

The package was discovered on the Stockton Street side of Union Square, police spokesperson Albie Esparza said as he stood behind a police line. The officer found it independently rather than in response to a tip, Esparza said, and made the decision to notify the bomb squad.

Esparza declined to offer more details about the package, but explained, “The bomb squad has special devices that can examine packages to see the contents.”

Police tape had been strung across all surrounding streets, Muni buses were being re-routed, and a shelter-in-place was put into effect for people inside surrounding buildings.

All around the area, pedestrians walked up to the police line to ask what was going on, and many expressed disappointment that they would be unable to get to their hair appointments or go shopping at Nieman Marcus. They texted loved ones to say there was a bomb threat. Even Frank Chu was on the scene, holding his signature sign. Helicopters circled overhead and fire trucks were parked inside the closed-off area.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Esparza said, noting that bomb threats happen from time to time. “We don’t want to have a tragedy just because of complacency.”