Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — A bomb scare shut down a portion of Sheridan Drive Tuesday morning for several hours and caused a heavy police response, after a North Tonawanda man who was acting erratically threw a suitcase at employees inside an armed forces recruiting station then fled the scene.
Town of Tonawanda Police Capt. Joseph Carosi said the incident, which took place about 8:35 a.m. at 2820 Sheridan Drive, followed a verbal confrontation between the man and U.S. Marines working at the station during which the man made statements that were "disjointed and irrational."
The man, whose name has not been released and is believed to be in 25 years old, was arrested a short while later on foot and taken to the Erie County Medical Center for a mental evaluation.
"Patrol officers were able to find him very quickly," Carosi said, without indicating the precise location of the arrest.
The employees vacated the building without opening the suitcase and called 911, police said, which prompted the assistance of the Erie County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Many of those working at the recruiting station were "very seasoned veterans," some of whom had combat experience, according to Carosi.
A robot used to diffuse bombs was also brought in to search the man's suitcase and his vehicle.
Erie County Bomb Squad commander Sgt. Greg Kent, said the search turned up what may have been a fake bomb, describing the contents of the briefcase as having some kind of "wires."
"There was some electrical components inside," he said.
An ATF canine also searched the area, which was blocked off by yellow police tape, but turned up nothing suspicious.
"He actually threw it at recruiters," Kent said, of the man's actions with the briefcase. "He definitely wanted to scare people."