UPDATE: For the second time in less than a year, a troubled transient from Ho-Ho-Kus forced an evacuation over fears that he could have explosives.
Around 9:20 last night, John Edwards III “walked into police headquarters carrying a black backpack, said there was a possible bomb inside, put it on the floor and walked out,” Chief Chris Minchin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.
An officer brought the package outside and Edwards was taken into custody. Police then summoned the Bergen County Bomb Squad.
The pack turned out to contain some clothing — along with batteries, a Walkman with headphones and a hair clipper.
“It was wires and batteries, so the Bergen County Bomb Squad had to x-ray it from different angles,” the chief said.
Headquarters was evacuated, along with the Fire Department and EMS headquarters that are all part of the Borough Hall complex, during the scare.
“Every day you read something going on with police somewhere,” Minchin said. “So you have to be very cautious.”
Two officers, a dispatch and Edwards were relocated to Waldwick police headquarters, and dispatching was conducted from there.
All vehicles, including fire engines and ambulances, were removed. All on-duty firefighters and EMS workers remained on standby. Sheridan, Warren, and Sycamore avenues were closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Everyone was able to return just after 11 p.m., Minchin said. Edwards was then processed, he said.
A judge ordered him held on $75,000 bail — charged with making terroristic threats and causing a false public alarm — and had him brought first to Bergen Regional Medical Center for a 48-hour psychiatric evaluation.
Edwards was arrested in Fair Lawn nearly a year ago after police said he claimed to have a biological weapon in his High Street apartment.
He was brought to Bergen Regional and later released on $15,000 bail, charged with causing a false public alarm and threatening to commit a crime.
More than 50 residents were evacuated from the Radburn area as the county bomb squad responded.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy Ho-Ho-Kus PD
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