A suspicious package left Sunday afternoon in Wendy’s parking lot tied up police and traffic in Hinesville for a few hours.
The neatly wrapped package, on which the word “kaboom” had been scribbled, was found shortly after
3 p.m. in the restaurant’s lot in the 700 block of West Oglethorpe Highway, according to an incident report filed by Hinesville Police Officer Tika Gant.
“The package was discovered by a customer using the drive through, who alerted the store manager, Andrew Owens, that a suspicious package was sitting unattended in the front of the restaurant. Owens went to investigate and found the word “kaboom” written on the package, which was wrapped up in what appeared to be white butcher paper and addressed to a Fort Stewart soldier,” Gant said.
The package, which appeared to be from Parkwood Podiatry in Brunswick, had the soldier’s address handwritten across the top and side.
Owens immediately called 911, setting in motion the chain of events that eventually led to the restaurant being sealed off. When Gant arrived, the Wendy’s was evacuated and a 1,000-foot perimeter was established.
Police tracked the soldier down to a Hinesville address and interviewed him. The man told police he was not expecting any packages from Parkway Podiatry in Brunswick. When contacted by Sgt. Mike Gosseck, representatives from the company told the officer they had not sent a package to the Fort Stewart soldier. Gosseck was told all Parkwood Podiatry packages are delivered using a delivery service.
Gosseck contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation bomb disposal unit in Savannah, which sent a bomb technician to Wendy’s. Using a robot to inspect the package, the technician — clad in a heavy, padded suit — inspected the package and later exploded it using a water cannon. Once the package lay shredded on the ground facing West Oglethorpe Highway, investigators from the GBI and Fort Stewart EOD inspected the contents and discovered a pair of insoles.
Liberty County Emergency Management Director Mike Hodges said West Oglethorpe Highway was closed for several hours, causing, traffic to be diverted to alternate routes in Hinesville.
“There may have been some chaos in the city, but nobody was injured during this process, which we take very seriously,” he said.
Gosseck later said the podiatry company called back to inform the police that a package had been shipped to an address on Fort Stewart. It still is not clear how the unattended package ended up in the parking lot.