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Suspicious Van Deemed Safe, Times Square Reopened

December 30, 2009

UPDATE: The suspicious white van parked in the heart of Times Square has been deemed harmless, CBS 2 HD has learned. The 1992 Dodge with tinted windows and no license plates prompted the NYPD to evacuate high-rises and send out bomb squads the day before New Year's Eve. All evacuated buildings and affected transit services have resumed normal activity.

EARLIER STORY:

The NYPD closed down part of Manhattan's Times Square as its bomb squad investigated a "suspicious" vehicle.

Police blocked off the area around 42nd Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway just after 11 a.m. Wednesday while a robot-based camera approached the vehicle.

Police said the van was a white 1992 Dodge and has tinted windows.

Police officers on patrol noticed the van around mid-morning Wednesday, and believe it to have been parked at the location for two days.

The NYPD's emergency service unit and bomb squad positioned themselves around the vehicle, which was parked on the west side of the street between 41st and 42nd.

A placard from a nonexistent law enforcement agency was placed on the dashboard. It had no license plates.

Pedestrians in and around the Crossroads of the World were told to keep it moving while the investigation continued.

Extra New Year's Eve security may have triggered the response.

Police said they are especially vigilant in advance of Thursday's celebration.

"Its presence in Times Square just before New Year's Eve causes us concern, and that's why we're taking extra precautions," said chief NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne.

The city's transit agency said several train lines were bypassing 42nd Street, including the N, R and W lines. The crosstown shuttle train had been suspended.

Source: Channel 2

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