LOWELL -- City police dealt with two unrelated bomb scares barely 30 minutes apart on Sunday afternoon, but managed to prevent either situation from requiring a response from the bomb squad.
The first incident was on Concord Street about 4 p.m., where a man police described as mentally ill was walking in the street while carrying a sword and telling people he was going to blow up his own home, according to police radio broadcasts.
That man, a veteran, was also complaining that no one would listen to his medical needs, according to radio broadcasts.
A police officer who is also a veteran was able to talk that man into calming down a bit so he could be taken to a city hospital for an involuntary mental evaluation, according to police. He was not immediately charged.
Just a few minutes after police cleared out of Concord Street, another officer found a black suitcase with a cross on it sitting on the front steps of Lowell City Hall with no one around.
Police initially believed the package was suspicious and requested the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad be called in to evaluate it.
A passerby recognized the package, though, and told police its owner was nearby filming a movie.
Police had the owner brought to the scene, and canceled the bomb squad response after the owner opened the package.
Police said the owner of the suitcase told them he was filming a movie at city hall and left the suitcase behind by accident when he moved on to another location.
Police told the man it was a reckless decision, especially since the package was left in front of city hall where it could have, and nearly did, provoke a major bomb scare.
That man was not immediately charged, but detectives were planning to speak to him to make sure his story added up.
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