CMPD: Device found uptown ‘intentionally designed’ to look like explosive; rendered safe

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they are investigating after a device that was “intentionally designed” to look like an explosive was found in uptown Charlotte Sunday. Investigators said they rendered it safe.

CMPD said it received a call about a suspicious package left unattended near the intersection of Trade Street and Tryon Street shortly after 11 a.m. According to the police report, it was located outside the Bank of America Corporate Center.

Officers arrived at the scene and began shutting down the area. They cleared everyone out and called CMPD’s Bomb Squad Unit to investigate, police said.

CMPD Major Brad Koch told Channel 9 the device found was intentionally designed to look like an explosive.

“Speaking to our bomb guys, they said if they were to make a training video on a device, this would be the type of device it was,” Koch said.

A 9-1-1 call of someone reporting the suspicious package was released Tuesday.

The caller describes the fake bomb as no more than five inches long and wrapped in silver duct tape and electrical tape.

“I can’t tell what is inside of it, I didn’t want to get to close,” the caller said.

Over the two-minute and nine-second call, the reporting person attempted to describe every part of the suspicious package.

“It looks like tape on it, it looks like something is on the inside of it. It looks a little clear, I can’t tell if it is, but in the middle part it is something with black duct tape on it,” the caller calmly said. “It looks like on the side of it, it could be a battery, I don’t know, but it is wrapped in duct tape, it looks more like a battery. The tip is like a brown.”

The investigation was alarming at first for those who were uptown Sunday afternoon.

“I see a few officers come by the truck. And they knocked on my door. And they said, ‘listen I need you to evacuate the area.’ I’m like what’s going on? And they said, ‘I need you to evacuate now’,” food truck owner Omari Campbell said.

Campbell said he normally sets up his Jamaican food truck at the farmers market but Sunday was the first time he decided to bring it uptown.

“It don’t upset me at all because I believe caution is better than cure,” Campbell said.

The threat happened during a busy time in uptown. Charlotte FC played Atlanta United in a match at nearby Bank of America Stadium, and the Hornets’ final home game was at the Spectrum Center. The multiweek Charlotte SHOUT! festival also drew crowds that spanned across several streets uptown.

When officers shut the streets down to investigate the suspicious package, Campbell said he lost business.

“Charlotte SHOUT! started at 12 p.m.,” he said. “Once again from 12 p.m. to 2:30 - 3 p.m. I wasn’t able to conduct business.”

And how much did that cost him?

“Easily, I would say, almost $1,000 for those three hours,” Campbell said.

Major Koch said investigators don’t know why someone would plant such a realistic-looking device.

“I don’t know that’s certainly, a lot of times we see people want to see the type of response police,” Koch said. “And public safety partners have and certainly, there was a vigorous and comprehensive response here today.”

CMPD said the bomb squad was able to successfully render the package safe. No other suspicious devices were found in the area, according to police.

The investigation into this case is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 911.

Charlotte’s FBI office is in touch with CMPD and is prepared to help in any way.

(WATCH BELOW: Shards of glass from building rain onto sidewalk below in uptown Charlotte)