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      Police clear suspicious packages in downtown Columbia

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - Police have cleared three suspicious packages found around downtown Columbia.

      Columbia Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Timmons says the first package was found at the intersection of Lady and Assembly streets. That package was determined to be clothing in book bag on a park bench.

      The second package was found nearby at Assemby and Washington streets. That package was detonated by Columbia Police. They later said the detonated package contained books and other undetermined items.

      Traffic was blocked off for several blocks downtown, but only one business was evacuated. The area along Assembly Street is clearing up.

      A third suspicious package was reportedly found around 2 p.m. at the intersection of Garners Ferry Road and Rosewood Drive.

      According to Columbia Police a caller notified Highway Patrol that there were duffle bags at the location.

      "The good news about all of this is there was no immediate threat to the public. I understand that people are very concerned and overly cautious concerning the events in Boston. We want them to be diligent, we want them to call us with these sorts of things. We can never take this with a grain of salt," said Jennifer Timmons.

      When the caller went through same area again, the bags were gone. Columbia Police say nothing else was found at the location.

      Authorities say part of the increased security is due to heightened sensitivity after the Boston bombing.

      People travelling through downtown are encouraged to take alternate routes.