APSO investigates potential scare tactic at Rouses

Greg Fischer
Evacuated Rouses employees wait patiently while police investigate strange "package."

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police were called out to Rouses Supermarket at 14635 Airline Hwy, March 5 to investigate a strange "package." 

The package was actually a green metal toolbox about two feet in length. It was wrapped up in duct tape and sitting near a trashcan all morning in the front of the store, according to a Rouses employee. It was said to have sat there from 6 a.m. until the police arrived and the store was evacuated at about 10:30 a.m.

"We got a call about 10 that an old toolbox that you would carry was laying by the front door by a trashcan," APSO Chief Deputy Bobby Webre said. "It was taped up pretty good. Certainly, it looked like it could be a suspicious item, a bomb, or some type of explosive."

Shortly afterwards, a member of the Louisiana State Police Hazmat unit in protective armor approached the box for an X-ray, similar to the way bag's are X-rayed at an airport. The findings were not at all suitable to ignore the situation.

At about 1:15 p.m., store employees, police, and media were instructed to take cover behind the far side of the supermarket. Minutes later the package was hit with a water blast that blew it open, sounding like an explosion and certainly frightening some bystanders.

What was found inside the box was a bunch of nails, an aerosol can, and a couple tools of some sort, according to Webre. However, the box was not found to contain an explosive device such as a detonator. This leads the police to question the carrier's intentions.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no camera surveillance on that part of the entrance to the store, obviously making it more difficult to check when the box was left, and why. The investigation is ongoing.

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