BROOKSVILLE — A briefcase left outside a Sears store on Cortez Boulevard on Wednesday prompted deputies to close off an area around the busy shopping center while a bomb squad detonated the suspicious package.
After the blast, investigators discovered that the briefcase was empty.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, a customer told a Sears manager around noon that there was a briefcase outside and that it could possibly have a bomb inside. The manager contacted authorities, who helped evacuate the store and then asked for assistance from the Tampa Bomb Squad.
A Sears employee told deputies she had noticed the same briefcase outside the store on Tuesday but did not report it. Deputies reviewed store surveillance video from Tuesday that showed a man walking in front of Sears while pulling a suitcase on wheels in one hand and carrying the same briefcase in the other hand.
The man sat down and took everything out of the briefcase and put it all into the suitcase before putting the briefcase on top of a nearby trash can and then walking away.
The bomb squad arrived and detonated the case, after which they found that the case had been empty.