JSO: 2 pressure cookers, honey in suspicious package outside IKEA

Authorities say package that prompted evacuation was found in parking lot

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A suspicious package outside the Jacksonville IKEA that prompted a bomb threat evacuation Saturday contained two pressure cookers and a jar of honey, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The package was reportedly found in the parking lot, police said.

Authorities closed all lanes of Gate Parkway from Interstate 295 to Point Meadows Place while police investigated.

According to detectives, the suspicious package was later found to be a garbage bag with pressure cookers inside, prompting concern because of the use of pressure cookers in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Management closed the doors early Saturday night, and employees of the major retail store spent the night cleaning up after guests were rushed out in a hurry following the bomb threat.

Busloads of IKEA employees and customers were carried away from the store Saturday afternoon as police showed up to investigate the suspicious package.

"JSO officers put them on city buses to get them out of the cold, and they were going to bring them food and what not," Mel Wegner said.

Wegner was one of the first at IKEA when the scene cleared. Her friend works at the major retail store and said it was hectic after someone threatened an employee with a bomb, and in turn, management found a "suspicious package" in the parking lot.

"She texted me and said, 'Can somebody please help me out? I don't know how you're going to get here,'" Wegner said. "I said, 'I'll be on my way.'"

Although the package was only a bag of pots and no one was hurt, traffic was backed up for miles on I-295. Several customers also showed up after the scene was cleared, but they were turned away as the store remained closed.

"We'll take inconvenience for safety," customer Mike Shea said.

Though the package found was harmless, the person who called in the threat to the store could face felony charges if police find out who did it.

IKEA remained closed Saturday and reopened at its normal time on Sunday.

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