Harrison County

Bomb squad opened 'suspicious' package sent to Gulfport dealership employee. It said 'relax.'

Suspicious package found at Gulfport car dealership

Jonathan Allen, owner of Allen Toyota, describes what led police to block off the front entrance of his dealership while they wait for a bomb squad to investigate a suspicious package .
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Jonathan Allen, owner of Allen Toyota, describes what led police to block off the front entrance of his dealership while they wait for a bomb squad to investigate a suspicious package .

There were plenty of concerns Thursday when an Allen Toyota employee brought a "suspicious" package he had received the day before to work. As it turns out, everyone just needed to "relax."

Dealership owner Jonathan Allen told media on scene that a package was delivered to the home of an employee Wednesday. Allen said the employee meant to bring it to the police department Thursday but instead put it in the back of his Ford Ranger truck and drove to work before calling law enforcement.

The Biloxi police department bomb squad was called and a perimeter was set up around the business, which is located on Helen Richards drive, just north of Interstate 10 off Cowan-Lorraine Road.

The truck was parked just off the southwest corner of the dealership's property and vehicles were moved away from the truck in anticipation of the bomb squad.

Gulfport Police Sgt. Clayton Fulks said the package was unexpected, which sparked suspicion on the heels of the exploding packages investigation that recently held Texas hostage. He said law enforcement followed protocol with the bomb squad until the package could be cleared.

Just before 2 p.m. Thursday Biloxi bomb technician Matthew Boone said they took x-rays of the package and confirmed it was not dangerous. He soon returned to open the mysterious package.

As it turns out, a relative had sent the employee a sign, which simply said in cursive: "Relax."

Jonathan Allen, owner of Allen Toyota, describes what led police to block off the front entrance of his dealership while they wait for a bomb squad to investigate a suspicious package .

During the whole investigation, the dealership operated like normal and funneled customers to a rear entrance.

Sun Herald photographer John Fitzhugh contributed to this report.
Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @patrickochs
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