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Package sets off bomb-squad response

In loading areBataviPost Office Randall Road an ATF officer his dog help BataviKane County Sheriff's police investigate suspicious package thwas

In the loading area of the Batavia Post Office on Randall Road an ATF officer and his dog help Batavia and Kane County Sheriff's police investigate a suspicious package that was found at a strip mall across Mill Street near Randall Road in Batavia on Thursday, February 21, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 23, 2013 6:21AM

BATAVIA — Handling packages is the usual routine at the Batavia Post Office. But one package set off alarms for postal workers early Thursday morning.

Police were dispatched to the U.S. Post Office at 500 N. Randall Road at around 5:19 a.m. after employees thought they heard ticking inside a delivered package and called police.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called in to investigate the package — which turned out to contain exercise weights, according to the Postal Service.

Five or six employees originally at the post office and others arriving to work were asked to wait in a parking lot across the street until the bomb squad checked out the package and determined it was not a threat.

“There was no threat or call made into the post office — it was a package deemed suspicious,” Deputy Police Chief Eul said.

The package weighed 5 pounds and was in a box that was 10-inches by 8-inches by 6-inches.

“The sender was contacted and the box was not removed from facility. It was a normal piece of mail,” Eul said.

Beverly Howard, customer relations coordinator for the Postal Service’s Central Illinois District, said the package “originated from the Batavia post office’s automated postal center in our lobby where customers can weigh, place postage and deposit packages in the parcel receptacle after the retail window is closed.”

Howard said the automated postal strip indicated the package was deposited around 9 p.m. Wednesday.

“Parcels are gathered and brought into the processing center behind the retail window and at around 2:30 a.m. someone thought they heard ticking in one of the parcels,” Howard said.

Howard said the workers took the package outside to the loading dock and then contacted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

She said postal inspectors were sent to the Batavia Post Office and then notified Batavia police.

“When we arrived the package was in the loading dock. Employees outside the building said they thought they heard a ticking noise coming from inside the box. That, coupled with weight of package, they thought it was appropriate to call us,” Eul said.

Eul said there actually was nothing ticking inside the box.

Howard said the parcel contained “lifting weights,” being mailed by an Elburn resident to an address in West Virginia.

Mill Street, which borders one side of the Post Office was closed for about two hours.

The Post Office opened at its regular time at 8:30 a.m.

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