ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Orange County Sheriff has given the all-clear after several suspicious devices shut down parts of a busy shopping center Tuesday.
At least two dozen businesses in the Waterford Lakes Town Center shopping plaza were evacuated, along with a section of the Victoria Place apartment complex, after suspicious devices were found in the area early Tuesday.
The sheriff's office said that 60 children were also evacuated from a day care.
Deputies closed Waterford Lakes Parkway near Alafaya Trail and asked people in the area to stay indoors and for others to stay away while they worked in the area.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs were both on the scene as investigators worked.
"One of the concerns we always have after anything that gets national attention like this is the copycat syndrome; those people in society who aren't right and who want attention," said Jacobs.
Deputies used bomb sniffing dogs and a robot to investigate the four suspicious devices. Shortly before 1 p.m., investigators said they had cleared the last of the devices and the evacuations were lifted.
One of the devices was a backpack and another was something cylindrical with wires that resembled a grenade. There’s no word on what the other two were.
Sheriff Jerry Demings said if Orange County residents see something suspicious, they should report it.
“We ask the public, ‘If you see something, notify us, and let us go through it and work through it,’” said Demings. “We're better safe than sorry.”
Shortly after the Waterford Lakes incident began Orange County investigators responded to a suspicious suitcase near Old Winter Garden Road. They have cleared that scene.
In Volusia County, Daytona Beach police evacuated the Extended Stay Motel and closed Bill France Boulevard after a hotel worker found a note in a room that said a bomb would explode Tuesday at 9:30.
A short time later police in Daytona Beach Shores were called to check out a suspicious package outside a psychic's business along A1A. That package turned out to be a bag with a bible inside.
It's the fifth time a Volusia County agency has responded to a suspicious device or bomb threat in the past four days.