Suspicious device prompts evacuations, closes streets


Steve Marcus

Investigators look over the contents of a truck on Sahara Avenue near Decatur Boulevard Tuesday, June 29, 2010. The Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Bomb Squad was called when a suspicious device was found in the vehicle, Metro Police said. The device was rendered safe with the assistance of bomb squad robots, they said.

Published Tue, Jun 29, 2010 (10:59 a.m.)

Updated Tue, Jun 29, 2010 (4:06 p.m.)

Suspicious vehicle

About 20 businesses were evacuated Tuesday after Metro Police officers found a suspicious device in a vehicle near Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard.

Metro spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said officers responded about 10:30 a.m. to the area after stopping a Dodge Ram pickup truck on suspicion of DUI. The truck's driver stopped at the southeast corner of the intersection.

After the traffic stop, police learned the 40-year-old driver had an outstanding warrant from North Las Vegas and arrested him, Morgan said.

Officers did a search of the truck before planning to have it towed. A suspicious device was found during the search, which led police to evacuate about 20 businesses in the area and close several streets to traffic.

The Las Vegas Fire and Rescue bomb squad responded to the scene and rendered the device safe with the use of two robots. Police weren't releasing other details about the device. No one was injured.

The driver of the truck, from Las Vegas, was arrested on the North Las Vegas warrant and could face additional charges in connection with today's incident. A passenger was also in the truck, police said.

Police had urged motorists to use alternative routes to avoid the area, but most roads were reopened at about 1:15 p.m.

Olmedo Hoyos, owner of Colombian Cuisine in the Sahara Pavilion South plaza, estimated he lost about 50 customers during the nearly three-hour evacuation. Because it's a family business, Hoyos said many customers, who had planned to eat lunch and watch the World Cup, called him asking about the evacuation.

"I was afraid the cooks left something on because it was so fast — the evacuation," he said.

Elsewhere in the plaza, that's exactly what happened. Dennis Trujillo, assistant manager at Jimmy John's, said an employee had to call 3-1-1 and ask firefighters to turn off the bread oven. They expected the evacuation to be matter of minutes, not hours.

Jimmy John's was able to open its doors at 1:55 p.m., just after the lunch-hour rush.

"Hopefully, we'll make a couple hundred dollars," Trujillo said. "It's kind of intense because nothing like that has ever happened before. I'm glad no one was hurt."

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