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Suspicious containers at County Market held gravel and rocks

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen, right, and Jim Armstrong of the Marathon-Oneida County Bomb Squad examine two coffee containers in a shopping cart that were feared to be a bomb. The bomb squad set off a small explosion to detonate the plastic containers, which revealed they held only gravel and stones.

The County Marking parking lot was reopened to vehicles shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday after a bomb squad from Marathon County discovered that suspicious coffee containers in a shopping cart were filled with gravel and rocks.

The Marathon-Oneida County Sheriff's Bomb Squad used small explosives to open the containers, which spilled only gravel onto the parking lot pavement.

The incident started when a shopper reported seeing a suspicious package in a grocery cart in the store's parking lot around 1 p.m.

Store personnel contacted the Hudson Police Department, who examined the cart and made the decision to call the Marathon County bomb squad in Wausau. The squad arrived between 4 and 5 p.m.

Jim Armstrong, a member of the bomb squad, said they didn't have to travel as far because they were at a training session in Marshfield.

Once the bomb squad arrived, they used another shopping cart to place a device immediately alongside the cart with the package. HPD Officer Shawn Pettee saw the package and described it as two coffee cans taped together.

Authorities cordoned off the north end of parking lot along Crest View Drive initially, and later expanded the perimeter of the area, leaving only part of the south end of the lot open for shoppers.

The eastbound lanes of Crest View Drive also be barricaded from the Walmart Store to Gateway Boulevard.

The main entrance to the store was blocked, but shoppers were allowed in and out by the south door near the pharmacy.

By 6 p.m., about dozen cars were caught in the cordoned off area and drivers could not get to their cars to leave.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said it was possible that the coffee containers were a makeshift boat anchor. He speculated that someone didn't want them in their vehicle anymore, and disposed of them in the shopping cart.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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