Traffic, businesses reopen after bomb investigation in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police shut down traffic all morning and all afternoon in the area of I-70 and 39th Street in Independence Tuesday as bomb experts carefully examined a suspicious wooden box in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel at Noland Road and Lynn Court.

The ordeal began at about 6:18 a.m. when the motel's front desk received a threatening phone call. Then, an hour later, the box appeared in the parking lot.

A bomb-detecting robot was brought in, and when officers approached the box using the robot mounted with a camera, they spotted what appeared to be wires coming from the box.

"There were items in the box that were consistent with what might be used to make an explosive device you know wires that sort of thing," said Tom Gentry, with Independence Police.

Authorities from the Independence Bomb Squad called the FBI, the ATF, and Kansas City's bomb squad for assistance.

Dozens of businesses in the area were forced to close because no traffic was getting into them while authorities continued their investigation.

At one point, investigators appeared to be using special equipment to x-ray the box. Then three robots were seen circling the device. The alarm and caution prevented people from getting where they wanted to be, like back to their motel room.

"The officer told me to wait at Denny's because I couldn't go back to my room and then Denny's closed, so now I'm stuck at Hardee's," said Cierra Bratsberg, who was unable to get back into the Best Western Inn where she was staying.

Not long after 5:00 p.m., the roads were reopened. Authorities did not explode the box, but determined it was safe to allow traffic back into the area.

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