Long Beach police investigate suspicious package at LIRR station

LBPD, county bomb squad responded, say it was lost piece of luggage left in lobby


As the nation watched law enforcement scour the Boston area on Friday night for the second suspect in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing, Long Beach police investigated a suspicous package at the Long Island Rail Road station that forced the suspension of train service for more than an hour and evacuation of the area.

At approximately 7 p.m. on April 19, a city bus driver notified the Long Beach Police Department that a suspicious red bag had been left unattended in the Long Island Railroad lobby.

Long Beach Police evacuated the train station and immediate area and requested, through the MTA Police, that all trains terminate at the Island Park train station. Arrangements were made for the NICE bus system and the Long Beach Transportation Department to transport LIRR passengers to and from Long Beach and Island Park.

According to police, units from the Nassau County Police Department's Bomb Squad, Emergency Service and K9 units responded to investigate and, if needed, remove and disarm the package. Having completed their investigation, the package was determined to have been a lost piece of luggage, and police said that the "all clear" was ordered. Normal trains and traffic resumed at 8:45 p.m.

The incident sparked chatter on Facebook, with many residents inquiring about the police presence and cordoned off area at the station. The incident occurred during what was described as the nation's largest manhunt in recent memory unfolded on television, one that ultimately led to the arrest of 19-year-old suspected terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The arrest followed a day-long manhunt that had the Boston area on lockdown and after police said Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, led a bloody rampage that included a shootout with police and the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot several times in the gunfight with police and later pronounced dead.

"Especially in light of the current heightened alert, we appreciate that our police department takes all matters of public safety extremely seriously," City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement. "It is always better to be safe than sorry."