Bethel Park police evacuated South Hills Village Mall, Carmike 10 cinemas and surrounding restaurants at around 6:30 on Sunday night after a man claimed that he had bomb-making material in his briefcase.
South Hills Village officials released the following statement at 10:30 p.m. Sunday:
The local authorities have confirmed that there is no longer a threat, and the mall is now safe for our customers, tenants and employees. We will re-open for business tomorrow at 10 a.m., regular business hours.
A man went into Barnes & Noble Booksellers at around 6:15 p.m. on Sunday and said that he had bomb-making material in the case. Two customers overheard the 70-year-old man and called police, according to WTAE.
The man left and went into the Red Robin restaurant next to the mall's food court. Red Robin customers said that the man was acting strangely.
Jeremy Simpson, 36, of Mt. Lebanon, was inside of the restaurant when three police officers came in and removed an older man, a briefcase and a duffel bag, Simpson said.
"The man was seated by himself, wearing a T-shirt, sweatpants and sneakers," Simpson said. "(The bags) were in the booth next to him," Simpson said of the older man. "The officers handled the bags themselves."
Simpson, who was at the restaurant with his wife and two children celebrating his daughter's birthday, said that police took the man outside before he lost sight of what was happening.
Nevertheless, Simpson's family and the rest of the restaurant's patrons were escorted by police through the mall and exited the mall between Barnes & Noble and Dick's Sporting Goods.
"We waited around for a while after that," Simpson said. "Nobody was making a statement, but probably about 10 police cars showed up. So we just went home."
WTAE reporter Bob Hazen tweeted a photo of the briefcase in question, after investigators determined that no explosives were inside.
Police vehicles and tow trucks were blocking entrances to the mall throughout Sunday night.
The mall typically closes for customers at 6 p.m. on Sundays, but Barnes & Noble and Red Robin typically close at 8 and 10, respectively.
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