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UPDATE: Scene Cleared at Home Depot After Suspicious Package Reported

Store was closed for three hours

The Howell Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious package in the parking lot of the Home Depot on Route 9 for what was eventually ruled to be an old shipping box.

Detective Sgt. Eileen Dodd said a call came into the department at 12:48 on Thursday for a sealed package that was left unattended in a shopping cart. Dodd said labels on the box showed it had been mailed to a home in Jackson four months ago and further research showed the person it was sent to has since died. 

The parking lot, which includes several other businesses like Dunkin Donuts and a Chase Bank was closed off while the businesses remained open for the customers already inside. 

Officers from the New Jersey State Police bomb squad responded to the scene to x-ray the package during which time all employees and customers were kept inside the Home Depot according to Dodd. 

Examination of the box revealed a cable box inside and Dodd said it is believed the box had been re-used from its original purpose. 

Dodd said the shopping center returned to normal business operations at 3:15. 

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