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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Suspicious car leads to closure of Times Square

Several blocks of New York's Times Square remained shut down early Sunday morning as a robot from the city police department's bomb squad checked for explosives after an officer saw smoke coming from a box inside a parked car.

The police department's public information office said the box and other items found in the search are not confirmed at this time to be a bomb.

The FBI was on the scene as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, with a spokesman telling CNN the agency was taking the situation "very seriously" and that the situation was still being sorted out.

A law enforcement source said police found propane cylinders and a gas can among the items. The source said these could be supplies used by street vendors.

The Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the developments.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said the shutdown began late Satuday after a foot patrol officer passed by a Nissan Pathfinder with Connecticut plates on 45th Street between and 7th and 8th avenues. Browne said the officer noticed a box inside the car with smoke coming out.

Hotels and restaurants were on lockdown and several blocks around Times Square, an iconic landmark popular with tourists, closed to pedestrian and car traffic.

The Marriott Marquis hotel wasn't allowing anyone to enter or leave the hotel Saturday night, and at least one nearby restaurant, TGI Friday's, closed to customers and evacuated staff. (Source)

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