A suspicious bag prompted a two-hour evacuation of the Carson Mall on Thursday morning until a bomb squad determined the bag contained only cash from a Reno bank robbery.
Sgt. Randy Saulnier, with the robbery and homicide unit of the Reno Police Department said a man walked into the Wells Fargo Bank at 401 Keystone Ave. at about 9:26 a.m. and presented a note that demanded money and stated he was armed with a bomb.
The man escaped the bank with an undisclosed amount a cash.
Thirty minutes later Carson City deputies received information that the robber could be in Carson City and they began to canvass the town, including talking to employees in the mall, according to Carson City Sheriff's Department Lt. Ray Saylo.
"Someone in the mall indicated to us there was a suspicious suspect in there who had placed a suspicious bag in one of the trash cans," he said.
The witness' description matched that of the Reno robber and deputies found a black nylon bag in the trash near the mall's north entrance. Some 20 minutes later, about 150 people were evacuated from the mall and the Tahoe-Douglas Bomb Squad came in to investigate the bag. At 1:30 p.m. employees and shoppers were allowed back inside after the bomb squad robot recovered the bag which contained only money.
Oscar Mitchell, 36, was stopped by investigators about three blocks from the mall behind the Senator Apartments at Roop and Fifth streets. Reno investigators identified him as their alleged robber. The mall witness allegedly said he was the man who dumped the bag.
Saylo said Mitchell likely got rid of the money after seeing officers in the area.
Before doing so, he allegedly bought a new outfit at Gottschalks and changed his clothing inside the mall.
"I'm proud of the work we did on this," said Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong, who is attending a training course in Nashville with Undersheriff Steve Albertsen. "I'm really proud of everyone involved."
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.