Package Scare at Local Mosque
The Columbia Police and Fire Hazardous Device Unit was called the Islamic Center of Central Missouri after staff called in with concerns about a suspicious backpack found in the mosque's playground. After using an explosive device to open the bag, police found no items of concern.
Staff at the center noticed 23-year old Michael O'Day "acting suspicious[ly]" and "attempting to conceal his identity" at the scene, according to a police report released Thursday evening. O'Day was later identified as the bag's owner.
Police detained O'Day for questioning at around 4:25 p.m, and he was arrested for an outstanding warrant.
Officers put up caution tape around the Center and its parking lot at the corner of Fifth and Locust just after 2 o'clock p.m.
Workers at neighboring businesses told KOMU police gave them the option to evacuate. Later, a Flat Branch employee said the fire marshal advised his employees to be ready to evacuate. Children from the mosque were taken from the center and moved to the nearby Columbia Chamber of Commerce offices.
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