Suspect in custody after 'credible' bomb threat at Waterford bank prompts evacuations, detonation

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WATERFORD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A credible bomb threat at a Waterford bank Tuesday afternoon prompted evacuations and shut down part of the city for hours.

No one was injured, and the suspect is now in custody.

After more than two hours of preparation and investigation, a bomb technician detonated a suitcase in the bank parking lot.

Witnesses described a scary scene: officers with rifles drawn, a suspect frozen in place, and an ominous silver briefcase.

It started shortly before 3 p.m., when a man walked up to the drive-thru lanes of the Community State Bank on Fox Ln. with a silver suitcase in hand.

Eyewitness Tim Bergstedt was pulling up next door. He said, "I immediately thought 'What's this guy doing?' On foot. I thought that weird, in the drive-up, to be talking to someone in the window."

The man claimed the suitcase had a bomb and that he would detonate a device.

Gautam Patel, owner of the nearby Subway, said, "I feel bad because I'm scared right now."

Police responded while the man stood outside the front door. A perimeter was set up and nearby businesses were evacuated. Officers with guns drawn ordered the man to follow directions and they took him into custody without incident.

Bergstedt said, "Peacefully, he obeyed all the demands of the cops. Got on his knees, laid down, got up. Peacefully arrested."

Then law enforcement turned its attention to the suitcase.

A bomb technician from the Kenosha County Sheriff Hazardous Device Squad approached the suitcase to scan its contents.

Racine County Sheriff's Sgt. Joe Patla said, "They used a device to preliminary X-ray that suitcase and see if there was anything suspicious in it. And that would give them their direction on how they handle."

The suitcase did not contain anything explosive, but emergency crews were still cautious.

Sgt. Patla said, "Anytime you get this caliber of call, and judged by the reaction of multiple 911 calls we received, we obviously will take this matter seriously."

The technician then used a water charge to open the suitcase.

Bergstedt said, "I heard the bang, and then I saw debris fly. It was not a very loud bang, more like a pretty decent-sized firecracker."

Authorities say the suspect is a Racine County man. He'll be taken to jail while the sheriff's office works with the District Attorney's Office on potential charges.

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