‘Suspicious package’ not a threat

TRIADELPHIA – A bomb squad called in from Pittsburgh has determined a “suspicious package” found in the parking lot outside Wal-Mart at The Highlands is not a threat, according to Ohio County Emergency Management Director Lou Vargo.

Vargo said the bomb squad X-rayed the package and determined there was nothing dangerous inside.

Officials got a call about the package at about 4 p.m. Officer Garrett Pugh of the Wheeling Police Department and an explosives detection dog responded.

“We are treating it as a suspicious package based on the video footage we have from the camera. … Based on that we felt it’s credible enough to have the store closed and we also have the city of Pittsburgh bomb squad coming up here.”

The package is located about 100 feet from the front of the store, according to Vargo. He said when the bomb squad arrives, they’ll likely examine the package with an X-ray.

“If there’s any evidence to take it further they’ll do that, but it will be entirely up to those bomb technicians.”

Vargo said the store is currently cleared. Customers and employees inside the store were escorted to their vehicles by police.

Kathy Fugate, a customer inside the store, said she was getting the oil in her vehicle changed at about 4 p.m. when she heard employees talking about not being able to go outside. One of them told her that someone had left a box or a suitcase in the parking lot and no one was being allowed to leave.

At about 4:40 p.m., Fugate said an announcement was made that customers should finish their shopping and check out within the next 15 minutes.

She said an employee let her out of the store through one of the garage bays in the vehicle service department.

According to Vargo, Wheeling Police, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Office, Triadelphia and Valley Grove volunteer fire departments and the Ohio County EMA are on scene.