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Suitcase

The bomb squad was called in to investigate this suspicious black suitcase found at St. Helena Primary School. The suitcase was determined to be empty and not a threat.

A bomb squad responded to St. Helena Wednesday afternoon after a suspicious package was reported at St. Helena Primary School during dismissal, according to a Nixle alert released by St. Helena Police. By 3:21 p.m., less than an hour later, police said the package was "not a threat."

The students had already left the premises and school staff had been evacuated when the bomb squad arrived. At just after 3 p.m. the bomb squad used a portable X-ray machine to examine the package -- an adult suitcase -- and found it to be empty. 

Grayson Avenue was temporarily closed and residents were asked to avoid the area. Most of the students had already left, so the school was never placed on lockdown. The school faculty was sent home as a precaution.

Police Chief Bill Imboden said the black suitcase was considered suspicious because it was larger than one a student might carry, and because of its odd location next to a school building and behind a planter box.

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"Because of the climate we're in right now we decided to be overly cautious," Imboden said.

St. Helena Star editor Dave Stoneberg, Napa Valley Register reporter Maria Sestito and St. Helena Star reporter Jesse Duarte contributed to this article. 

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Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.