No charges to be filed after bomb scare proves harmless

Police talk to Niko Sveikauskas after he reportedly left his backpack in a Bank of America, causing a bomb scare. — John Ferris Robben

Police talk to Niko Sveikauskas after he reportedly left his backpack in a Bank of America, causing a bomb scare. — John Ferris Robben photo

No charges will be filed after a forgotten backpack caused alarm and forced a bomb squad response on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said that the bag had been accidentally left in the Bank of America on South Water Street in Byram and that seeing the unattended bag raised the concern of a bank customer who happened to be an off duty employee of the federal Department of Homeland Security. Police were called to the scene and there was enough concern that the Stamford Police Department was also brought in so members of its bomb squad could inspect the bag.

However the bag’s contents proved to be innocent and a Port Chester man returned to the scene, saying he had accidentally left it inside the bank while making a deposit. The man is not facing charges and the bag was ultimately returned to him. Police have not released the man but he has been identified in the media as Niko Sveikauskas.

The portion of South Water Street surrounding the bank was closed as the investigation took place, impacting several local businesses and a few apartments. And, despite it being a false alarm, Greenwich Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Kraig Gray said this was a case of better safe than sorry.

“We believe if you see something, say something,” Lt. Gray said on Thursday morning. “From our perspective, it’s better to go out and evaluate what’s going on than to have something terrible happen. It’s the post 9/11 world that we live in.”

Lt. Gray did not specify what it was about the bag that made people believe it was suspicious but said there were “several factors” including a phone number written in permanent marker on it. He described it was a “camouflage, military-style bag.”

“You have to be aware of unattended packages and considering the location and the type of bag and some of the writings on the bag, the initial officer decided it was best to slow down and have the bomb squad come in to evaluate,” Lt. Gray said. “Once the bomb squad arrived their assessment also triggered some risk factors that also slowed things down. These factors caused us to take a slow, methodical approach to this. It didn’t turn out to be anything nefarious, but it was suspicious.”

Lt. Gray said based on police interviews with the man, a review of surveillance footage and the findings of the bomb squad, it was determined that this was simply an accident and that no charges needed to be filed.

“Being odd and absent minded doesn’t result in an arrest in Greenwich,” Lt. Gray said, adding that the investigation was considered over. He said the man had several bags with him and had forgotten one of them in the bank, allowing for the rapid response.

While the investigation did disrupt the area, Lt. Gray stressed that it was important to be careful and urged people to not be reluctant to report suspicious things to the authorities. He thanked the Stamford Bomb Squad for their assistance in the case.

“We don’t have a crystal ball,” Lt. Gray said. “We don’t know what the end will be so in the environment we operate in here in the 21st century in the shadow of New York City requires that we methodically go through situations like this… If you see something, say something because we never know what it’s going to end up being. The most important thing is not to just assume it is an unattended bag. It needs to be evaluated. If something is suspicious and if something is out of the ordinary, please let us call in the professionals and evaluate it to dull a full threat assessment. It’s better to waste someone’s time than to waste someone’s life.”


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