A van equipped with generators on its exterior and painted with conspiracy quotes touched off a three-hour investigation at the last night.
were called to the mall at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 when security officers observed a suspicious van parked in the East lot, away from the building. Police on scene immediately began securing the area from shoppers, as it was still 30 minutes until the mall would be closed and the van had been deemed "extremely suspicious."
About 30 cars in the area were included in that area so the owners of the vehicles had to wait until the investigation was over at 11:50 p.m. before they could leave.
According to police, the 2003 Chevy Astro van in question had a cargo rack attached to the rear with two large cargo boxes. There appeared to be two gas cans secured to the top of the van with tubing and/or wires trailing to the interior, police said, and there were also wires coming from inside one box to a smaller wired box hanging below the cargo rack.
The entire exterior of the white van was covered with rambling verses and conspiracy comments raising the concern of the officers on scene, police said.
Megan Murphy, the town fire marshal was also on scene and notified the state police bomb squad. While waiting the arrival of the bomb squad, the operator of the van was located inside the mall and detained.
The bomb squad conducted their investigation and they found no imminent danger to any persons and/or property.
The operator was identified as Robert Cline, 47, of Stratford. He reportedly told police that the boxes contained a generator, which was used because he occasionally lives in the van. Police said Cline was released at the scene.