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Suspicious van forces brief Times Square evacuation

Emergency personnel and media gather around a suspicious

Emergency personnel and media gather around a suspicious van that was parked in Times Square. No explosive devices were found inside the van Wednesday afternoon, and the area was reopened to traffic about two hours after the incident began. (December 30, 2009) Photo Credit: AP

Times Square was briefly evacuated Wednesday afternoon when a 911 call alerted authorities to a white cargo van with a temporary tag and a bogus police placard, causing enough concern that bomb squads and counterterrorism crews were deployed.

Bomb squads found no explosives in the van, which police said was filled with clothes, mostly scarves, and tables and display racks typically used by street vendors, police said.

Times Square was reopened two hours later.

The Condé Nast tower at 4 Times Square, and 1460 Broadway, which houses the Nasdaq Stock Exchange's market site, were evacuated and several blocks were closed as police tried to determine if the van posed a threat, NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne said.

"What we are concerned about is vehicle bombs," Browne said. "This is something we are looking for in advance of New Year's Eve as part of our routine precautions."

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