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FBI searches bus for suspicious package

Inspection finds nothing unusual

Authorities shut down Route 3 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for three and a half hours to search the bus.
Authorities shut down Route 3 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for three and a half hours to search the bus.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (CNN) -- Authorities shut down a major New Jersey highway for three and a half hours Sunday while they searched a Greyhound bus for a suspicious package.

Nothing suspicious was found, and the road was reopened, but the shutdown -- which began just after noon -- caused significant delays on Route 3 in East Rutherford. The highway is a major artery west of New York City.

"Each piece of luggage and the bus was meticulously investigated, and nothing suspicious was found," FBI agent Steven Kodak said.

The FBI said the bureau received a phone call about an answering machine message that said two packages being shipped might be suspicious.

The call originated from a pay phone in Southern California and contained the first names of the people who might have sent the packages in question. The FBI then looked at various methods of shipping packages, and targeted the bus in New Jersey based on the time frame of the call, said FBI spokesman Nick Rossi in Sacramento, California.

The message was "very ambiguous and did not mention any direct threats to any city or state," he said.

Once the FBI found the bus, agents called police from the Port Authority, Rutherford and the New Jersey state force for assistance. Hazardous material units were also on the scene, and all 16 passengers were evacuated.

Nothing suspicious was found, and the bus passengers were released.

Agents made the stop as a precaution, Rossi said. "Our efforts to understand this situation are ongoing," he said.


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