The Merced police station on M Street was evacuated for about two hours Monday after an employee found a “suspicious” package in the lobby, said Lt. Andre Matthews.
The Police Department’s bomb squad investigated a white bag someone left on top of a vending machine in the lobby. The bag turned out to be a sack lunch.
“In this day and age, you have to be very cautious,” Matthews said.
An administrative employee found the bag and reported it to officers about 11:30 a.m., he said. There was likely no malicious intent, Matthews said, and there are no plans to seek an arrest related to the bag.
“It was probably just an honest mistake,” he said.
The courthouse, which is separated from the police station by an alley, was not affected, he said. The courthouse dealt with a bomb threat in July, after receiving an anonymous call.
Matthews said calls for police assistance were rerouted to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department while the police station was empty. He said administrative employees were sent to the south station on 11th Street to continue their work.
The bomb scare at the police station was a first in his 25 years on the force, he said.