4 devices found at Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando, rendered safe

1:05 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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ORLANDO, Florida (WKMG) - The Waterford Lakes Town Center has reopened on Tuesday afternoon after four suspicious devices were reported, prompting an evacuation of the mall, officials said.

The devices, two of which were described by deputies as backpack-like packages with wires protruding from them, were discovered Tuesday morning, prompting officials to evacuate more than 20 businesses at the Orlando shopping plaza, including a day care. They were later deemed safe.

The third suspicious package was found near a deputy patrol car ended up being a bag of tools and the fourth, which had a cylindrical object, were both determined to no longer be suspicious.

More than 60 children were removed from First Friend, and deputies said parents can pick up their children at the movie theater in the plaza.

Deputies told Local 6 reporter Kala Rama that devices were found behind some stores, including Best Buy and Ulta. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs' office said at least one device appeared to be strategically placed beneath a vehicle.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said his office first received a report around 8:15 a.m. about a suspicious device at the nearby Victoria Place apartments.

"We then received three more calls about suspicious devices or packages," said Demings, who added that two of the devices have been cleared. 

Bomb technicians continued to work on the other two packages, which were also rendered safe.

"There's a heightened sense of awareness in our nation now because of what happened (in Boston)," said Demings, referring to the bombing at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 250 others.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office and firefighters are conducting an investigation. Federal and state law enforcement authorities will also conduct an investigation, Demings said.

Alafaya Trail was closed near the plaza, but will reopen shortly, officials said.

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