Suspicious Package on Wilson Avenue SW Was Cooler Full Of Food

By Dave Franzman & Chris Earl, Reporters

This cooler was left along Wilson Avenue SW Friday morning, May 24, 2013. (photo courtesy Cedar Rapids police)

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By Adam Carros and Chris Earl

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Police have now reopened Wilson Avenue SW after a suspicious package alongside the busy stretch of road was found to be a cooler full of food left by someone "For those in need."

"Although this was ... done with good intentions, this is not something that Linn County Law Enforcement recommends," Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said in a news release. "There are numerous food pantries available to donate food to."

Police said the package was discovered by a passerby at 7:51 a.m. on the side of the road off L St. SW, next to the off ramp of Wilson Avenue.

Wilson Avenue was closed for about one and a half hours while police used a robot-like device to inspect the package remotely.

Megan Shenenberger, of Hiawatha, was on her way to work when she drove past the cooler with her husband and young son.

"It was just a white, Styrofoam container that said 'Please do not remove it, it's for the Earth, for the people'," Shenenberger said. "It had rocks sitting on top of it and it was closed and that is what had us concerned and why we called."

Police said they received numerous calls about the package.

Since the Boston Marathon explosions on April 15, bomb squads have been called out to numerous situations throughout Eastern Iowa.

- April 16, Cedar Falls: A bomb robot detonated a pipe bomb that was discovered after responders were on scene for hours.
- April 22, Iowa City: A suspicious package outside University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics was investigated by bomb crews. The contents turned out to be tea, ginger and a greeting card.
- May 6, Iowa City: The Mayflower Residence Hall at the University of Iowa is swept by crews after a suspicious letter is found.
- May 12, Cedar Rapids: Bomb squads investigate a cooler found outside the Walmart at Edgewood Road and 29th Avenue SW.
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