LAKE CITY, Fla. – The Lake City Mall was evacuated Sunday after someone reported a suspicious item: a cylindrical shaped object with multiple wires protruding from it.
Lake City police said the object was found by a concrete pillar near a fire hydrant. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol assisted in evacuating the mall and part of the parking lot.
With the area secure and the Lake City Fire Department and Century Ambulance Service on standby, officials made a closer inspection of the object. It turned out to be a sub sandwich wrapped in paper and then wrapped with wires in a way to make it appear as if it was an explosive device, according to the police department.
Once the object was confirmed to be inert, it was collected as evidence and those waiting at nearby businesses were allowed to return to the area.
“We greatly appreciate the swift cooperation and patience of those who were affected by the evacuation,” Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore said. “While it turns out that this object was most likely intended only to cause fear or as part of a prank, it is always best to be cautious when responding to this type of threat.” T\
The investigation of where the object came from is continuing. Florida Law defines a hoax bomb as “any object that by its design appears to be a destructive device or explosive, but is, in fact, an inoperative facsimile or imitation.” Placing a hoax bomb in public view is a second-degree felony.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Lake City Police Department at 386-752-4343.