MORRISTOWN, NJ - A Connecticut man was arrested, but later released, after being identified today as the person who left two pieces of luggage in a local Starbucks and made comments about them that caused a bomb scare, police said.
The man, Nick Cole, 46, of New London, left the items in the Starbucks at 40 North Park Place at about 2:46 p.m., police said. They said they were called to the store by employees because Cole "made comments that they deemed alarming and then walked out of the store, leaving the items behind."
Morristown Police Officer Bruce LaFera was the first on the scene, said police. The incident prompted authorities to evacuate some buildings and seal-off several nearby streets.
"Based upon the statements made by the store employees and the nature and position of the items, the Morris County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad was requested and responded to investigate," police said. "A complete investigation was conducted and the items were ultimately determined not to be dangerous."
Eventually, Morristown Police Detectives identified Cole as the person who left the items, police said. Although they arrested Cole and took him to the police station, police later released Cole. They did not explain why, but it was a move that upset Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty.
"I am disappointed our Police Department was not authorized to charge this person with a crime," said the mayor in a press release. "This person created a false public alarm, wasted valuable Town and County resources. It is simply inexcusable.”
Dougherty said Morristown takes all such threats seriously and noted authorities "took the necessary precautions to keep the public safe."
He thanked the Morristown Police and Morris County Sheriff’s Department "for diligently resolving the matter," again expressing his wish that Cole had been charged with something. "In this climate of heightened security, for someone to make a reckless statement is not only irresponsible but should be criminal," Dougherty said.