Mission Mounties continue to investigate a bomb scare targeted at Safeway in the Mission Hills Mall on the Lougheed Highway Tuesday afternoon.
According to police, a someone called 911 with the information around 2 p.m.
“Police contained the area based on the threat a bomb could be activated,” said Mission RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Dixon, noting there were several similar calls in the Fraser Valley area involving Safeway grocery stores.
All employees and customers inside the store at the time were evacuated and the store’s parking lot was closed off.
Some workers stood outside the store in near freezing temperatures without their jackets, while others warmed up inside neighbouring shops.
“Evacuation means right now,” said Mark Brown, who has been working at the Mission Safeway for more than seven years.
An announcement was made over the store’s PA system and staff began escorting customers out immediately, leaving carts in isles and abandoning the rotisserie chicken in the deli that were just being taken out.
Brown, who works in the produce department, didn’t know how many customers were inside at the time, but noted there were more shoppers than usual because it was customer appreciation day.
A police dog unit was called in to search for explosives. None were found, and the store re-opened around 4 p.m., said Dixon.
Police believe there are strong links between the incident in Mission and other bomb threats in the Valley on Tuesday, but have not established a connection yet.
“There was no demand made and there is no information available as to (the) motive,” said Dixon.
Chilliwack Mall was evacuated Tuesday morning as police investigated a similar threat.
The Safeway manager in Chilliwack contacted police after receiving word that a bomb had been placed at the store and was set to go off around noon.
Nothing was found at the store and the mall was re-opened around 1:15 p.m.