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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • 'Suspicious package' prompts evacuation at Taft College

  • It turned out to be a backpack accidentally left behind by student who drove away
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  •  Taft College's main parking lot was cordoned off and part of the campus evacuated for a time Thursday after a “suspicious” backpack was left in the parking lot.
    It turned out to be nothing more than a backpack belong to a student who drove off and accidentally left it behind.
    However, until it was claimed, police treated the backpack as a potential threat and even had the Kern County Sheriff bomb squad out of Bakersfield responding.
    “Because of the bombing in Boston (the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing) and the threat from al-Queda, you just don't leave backpacks alone,” said Chief of Police Whiting said in explaining the reaction.
    The pack's owner returned about 1:20 p.m. to claim it.
    Before that, Taft Police, Kern County Sheriff's deputies and the Kern County Fire Department were all on scene and the bomb squad was en route.
    Even thought it was a false alarm, Whiting said it was a good practice run.
    Whiting said the backpack was left in the main parking lot north of the campus near the TIL Center.
    The backpack was left near a car.
    The TIL Center was evacuated and the entire parking lot cordoned off.
    Students arriving for classes were being turned away at Cougar Court just west of Wildcat Way.

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