Packages at Columbus Circle mall in Time Warner Center investigated by NYPD, cops say

Unattended packages at The Shops at Columbus Circle prompted a partial evacuation as the Bomb Squad investigated Thursday night, police said. Photo Credit: Colter Hettich

The NYPD tweeted that the response was out of an abundance of caution.

Unattended packages at The Shops at Columbus Circle prompted a partial evacuation as the Bomb Squad investigated Thursday night, police said.
Unattended packages at The Shops at Columbus Circle prompted a partial evacuation as the Bomb Squad investigated Thursday night, police said. Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz

A pair of unattended packages at The Shops at Columbus Circle sparked a Bomb Squad investigation Thursday night, but they were later deemed safe, an NYPD spokesman said.

Police patrolling the mall, which is inside the Time Warner Center at 10 Columbus Circle, discovered the packages around 7:25 p.m. and evacuated the second floor "as a precaution," according to police officials. The first floor of the mall remained open during the investigation, NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald said.

Alec Paulson, of Washington Heights, works at the Coach store on the first floor of the mall and evacuated out of an abundance of caution.

“We technically could have stayed open down here,” he said. “One of the employees from the other store came over and said they’re evacuating. We never got an official notice [from police].”

The Bomb Squad determined the packages were not dangerous and the evacuation order was lifted around 8:40 p.m., according to Donald.

A bomb-sniffing dog was deployed at The Shops at Columbus Circle after two unattended packages were investigated by police Thursday night.
A bomb-sniffing dog was deployed at The Shops at Columbus Circle after two unattended packages were investigated by police Thursday night. Photo Credit: Colter Hettich

The NYPD and other law enforcement officials are on high alert across the city after two apparent pipe bombs were discovered in Manhattan over the last two days.

The Time Warner Center was evacuated on Wednesday after one of the devices, sent to CNN’s offices in the building, was discovered in the mail room. The other device, found Thursday morning, was sent to Robert De Niro via his TriBeCa restaurant and film center.

Similar devices also were sent to six prominent Democratic Party members, including former President Barack Obama and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in recent days. The FBI is investigating all of the packages as one case, though no one has come forward to claim responsibility and no suspects have been named.

With Colter Hettich

Lauren Cook