The Lake City Police Department responded to a suspicious item found at the Lake City Mall on Sunday. Responding officers observed a cylindrical shaped object with multiple writes protruding from it and around a concrete pillar near a fire hydrant. The mall was evacuated as well as a large portion of the parking lot while the area was secured, with the assistance of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol.
After the area was secure and with the Lake City Fire Department and Century Ambulance Service on standby, officials made a closer inspection of the object and determined that it was a sub sandwich, wrapped in paper, and then wrapped with wires in a way to make it appear as if it was an explosive device. Once the object was confirmed to be inert, it was collected as evidence and those waiting at nearby businesses were allowed to return to the area.
“We greatly appreciate the swift cooperation and patience of those who were affected by the evacuation,” said Lake City Police Chief Dr. Argatha Gilmore. “While it turns out that this object was most likely intended only to cause fear or as part of a prank, it is always best to be cautious when responding to this type of threat.”
Investigation into the object’s origin remains ongoing. Florida Law defines a “Hoax Bomb” as any object that by its design appears to be a destructive device or explosive, but is, in fact, an inoperative facsimile or imitation. Placing a “Hoax Bomb” in public view is a second degree felony.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Lake City Police Department at (386)752-4343.