September 27, 2013 - 6:03 AM
KELOWNA - Kelowna RCMP have released Orchard Park Mall and its parking lot after it was evacuated last night due to a bomb threat.
RCMP Cpl. Bill Parmar said the threat was called in to police around 5:45 p.m. and "for precautionary purposes we evacuated the mall."
This morning, Const. Kris Clark confirmed the threat was written on a piece of paper and placed on a car in the parking lot of the mall. It was this information that was called in to police. Clark said the wording on the note likely will not be released and had no other information about how police assessed the threat.
"We have to err on the side of caution," he said. "We would get vastly more criticism if even a single person had injured due to detonation of an explosive device."
It might seem a little far-fetched that a real bomber would target Kelowna but it has happened before. In 2000, a 57-year-old man sent two bombs through the mail—one that exploded in the car of his lawyer in a recent divorce case and another that was intercepted at Interior Health and exploded by the bomb squad. He was sentenced to six years in jail.
Orchard Park Mall wasn't due to close until 9 p.m. Parmar said police had no more specific information to narrow the search.
Police had the mall closed for more than six hours as bomb-sniffing dogs went through store-by-store.
Everyone responsible for the 170 stores inside were asked to remain outside.
Police brought in buses to keep the employees and store owners warm.
More than 30 uniformed and plainclothes officers from Kelowna and the surrounding area were on scene to evacuate and secure the building.
Const. Kris Clark says due to the size of the building, the investigation is still in its infancy.
— This story was updated using information from an RCMP press release at 10:24 a.m.
RCMP Cpl. Bill Parmar says police are taking a telephone bomb threat seriously and evacuating Orchard Park Mall.