KITCHENER, CANADA — Police used a robot-mounted water cannon to neutralize a suspicious package on Thursday afternoon.
The undisclosed items were sitting inside a blue recycling bin on a Frederick Street lawn, and prompted road closures in the area for several hours.
They were later determined by police to be construction-related and didn’t pose a threat, although Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Kevin Thaler said the items were certainly unusual upon initial examination.
“The device appeared to have some sort of timer attached to it, and it would have raised the suspicions of any citizen,” Thaler said.
There is construction work ongoing in the area, although it’s not known if the items in the bin were related to that project.
The drama began around 1:30 p.m., when a resident called 911 about the bin sitting against a parking sign at the corner of Frederick and Locust streets.
The first officers to examine the bin weren’t taking any chances and called in experts from the Emergency Response Team and the Explosives Disposal Unit.
Several Kitchener fire trucks also responded, and crews laid out hose lines as a precaution. Nearby residents were told to stay inside their homes and businesses.
An examination by X-ray couldn’t positively identify the items, so police decided to send in a remote-controlled robot armed with cameras and a water cannon to “disrupt” the device, Thaler said.
“We’re going to go with an abundance of caution and make sure the public is safe,” he said.
At 4:50 p.m., an officer called out “Fire, fire, fire!” before a single blast was fired by the robot. It then carefully removed items including what appeared to be a piece of cloth and three grey cylinders. Handwritten in black on at least one of the canisters was today’s date and other indiscernible words.