A pressure cooker left in front of a store forced the closure of a Red Bluff shopping center for several hours Monday.

Police received a call about 10:45 a.m. from a Food Maxx employee regarding a suspicious item in front of the store at the Belle Mill Shopping Center, Red Bluff Police Capt. Kyle Sanders said.

The item was placed into a cart and wheeled by an employee into a more isolated section of the parking lot, Sanders said.

"Because of the recent events in Boston we are treating it as suspicious," Chief Paul Nanfito said.

The Shasta County Bomb Squad was called at 12:15 p.m., arriving about 1 p.m., Sanders said.

A woman who police believe left the pressure cooker in front of the store was identified through surveillance. She was contacted and questioned by Red Bluff police, but the item was still considered suspicious until proven otherwise as a precaution, Sanders said.

Law enforcement asked businesses to close and requested that people, including employees, leave the area for their safety, Sanders said.

Just before 3 p.m., the pressure cooker was assessed and X-rayed before a member of the bomb squad wearing a bomb suit opened it, Sanders said.

The outer two perimeters were reopened within a few minutes of opening the pot and Red Bluff Fire and St. Elizabeth Community Hospital personnel were cleared to leave.


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