Authorities have removed a suspicious package with a hazardous material sticker from the grounds of the Kansas Statehouse after determining it wasn’t dangerous.
The Kansas Statehouse remained open today while authorities removed a suspicious package from the premises. The package, containing a hazardous materials sticker, was later deemed not dangerous, but several surrounding streets were closed Friday while authorities investigated. The 18-inch tall brown canister, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported the canister was placed by a statue of a pioneer woman on the southwest corner of the Statehouse grounds.
Investigators believe the placing of the package started as a prank. A man walked into the building early this morning and said “my buddy did something silly,” said Capitol Police public information officer Patrick Saleh. The person didn’t believe the canister contained explosives but was worried it would cause alarm. A bomb squad robot was used to view the package before it was deemed safe.
During the investigation, the TPD bomb squad established a command center on the northwest side of the Capitol building. From there, an officer piloted a robot with multiple high-definition cameras back and forth from the statute at least four times. On the first approach, the robot was too short to see into the canister, which was placed high on the statue’s base, Saleh said. On a second approach the robot deployed what Saleh described as a “step stool” so it could see into the canister.
Several surrounding roads were shut down while authorities investigated the incident.
The investigation is still ongoing.