Breaking News: Suspect identified in Aspen bomb scare
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Investigators have identified James Blanning, a 71-year-old man, as a suspect in a bomb scare that forced the evacuation of a 16-block area of downtown Aspen on Wednesday.
Authorities are in the process of locating Blanning, according to an 11 p.m. update from the Aspen Police Department.
Meanwhile, the evacuation remained in effect, effectively shutting down Aspen on one of the busiest nights of the year. Evacuated residents and visitors are being taken to the gym at Aspen High School.
Midnight fireworks over Aspen Mountain have been canceled and authorities are urging residents to go home and stay indoors.
Evacuations began after Wells Fargo Bank, 119 S. Mill St., received a suspicious package with a note. Vectra Bank, 534 E. Hyman Ave., notified police that it, too, had received a package and note. The call from Wells Fargo, at about 2:30 p.m., led to street closures and evacuations that were later expanded to the 16-block area.
Various local law enforcement agencies, along with federal agents and the Grand Junction Bomb Squad remain on the scene.
Police are seeking witnesses who may have seen Blanning or anyone with a black sled who was in the downtown area Thursday. The sled contained clear plastic boxes containing packages wrapped in holiday paper. There were pizza boxes at the bottom of the sled.
Anyone with information about the packages or the suspect is asked to call 970-429-1830. Anyone who spots the suspect should call 911, but should not attempt to make contact with the individual.
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