POCATELLO — What looked like a real bomb outside of a Gate City convenience store turned out to be a fake.
The Idaho Falls Bomb Squad made that determination on Saturday morning after responding to the Common Cents convenience store on East Alameda Road in Pocatello.
The incident began to unfold around 11:10 p.m. Friday when a Common Cents employee spotted what appeared to be a large bomb while dumping some garbage into the dumpster behind the store, police said. Police described the object as looking like the type of bomb that would be dropped by an airplane, and the Journal was provided with a photo of the object.
The Common Cents employee contacted Pocatello police immediately after spotting the object. Responding police officers evacuated Common Cents and cordoned off the area around the store, located at the busy intersection of East Alameda, Hiline and Pocatello Creek roads and Jefferson Avenue.
The intersection was not closed to traffic, but the Common Cents store remained evacuated for several hours until the Idaho Falls Bomb Squad arrived on Saturday morning.
Police said they had doubts the large object was a real bomb but they called in the Idaho Falls Bomb Squad to make sure. Pocatello police said they also sent photos of the object to bomb experts at Mountain Home Air Force Base in an effort to determine if the bomb was real.
Idaho Falls Bomb Squad personnel arrived at the Common Cents store on Saturday morning, X-rayed the object and determined it was a harmless decorative item made to look like a real bomb, police said. The Common Cents store was allowed to reopen once that determination was made.
None of the homes or other businesses near the Common Cents store were evacuated because of the suspicious object but police did tell the public to stay away from the store until it was determined whether the bomb was real.
The Pocatello Fire Department also responded to the incident.
Pocatello police said the incident remains under investigation and they have no idea why someone placed what looked like a real bomb next to the convenience store’s dumpster.