Sarasota, Florida - Shoppers at Westfield Southgate Mall in Sarasota got a bit more excitement than they bargained for today.
"It's a pretty scary situation," said shopper Debbie Shapiro.
Shortly before noon, an unidentified man threw some type of crushed up substance into the LensCrafters store there. Staff called 911 and police and the fire department's hazmat unit responded.
Bob Rowe was in LensCrafters and evacuated. "Had to leave; everybody out of here," said Rowe from the mall parking lot.
Shoppers in other stores saw police run through the mall and they were told to stay put, but not much else and that made for some nervous moments.
"A couple of shoppers thought there could be a sniper, so we planned on where we were going to hide and that would be in the clothing," said Shapiro. "We didn't know what was going on."
About 1:45 p.m., authorities determined that the unidentified substance was not hazardous and they cleared the mall to reopen.
Then on the heels of that suspicious incident, another one prompted a similar response in downtown Sarasota.
A letter mailed to the Plaza Five Points building raised concerns because it had the words "TNT" and "Kaboom" on it.
No one was allowed in or out of the building for more than an hour while authorities determined the letter was not dangerous.
And people inconvenienced say they understand the precautions taken. "It's better to be safe. After what happened in Boston and 9-11, I'd rather be safe," said Kevin Gurski, who was kept out of his workplace.
Police say there is no indication the two incidents are linked and they both remain under investigation.