Police transported a man to Kootenai Health for a psychological evaluation for his role in a bomb threat Monday at the Hampton Inn and Suites at Riverstone.
The normal lunch crowd was diverted when authorities around 11 a.m. responded to the threat at the Hampton Inn that resulted in detours, street closures and surrounding businesses temporarily shuttering their doors.
No bombs were found in the search, which lasted approximately three hours.
Police said a Washington man, who was not identified, had walked into the hotel lobby and told employees there was a bomb in a car parked outside.
“The man made several concerning paranoid statements and seemed to be suffering from some type of mental issue,” said Coeur d’Alene Police Detective Jared Reneau. “He was placed on a protective custody hold and transported to Kootenai Health for a mental evaluation.”
The Hampton Inn and Suites was evacuated. Several businesses, including Red Robin on the 1500 block of Riverstone Drive, were closed behind yellow police ribbon that fluttered in the wind during the usual bustling lunchtime hour.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad was called to assist with the search. The unit responds to threats throughout north and central Idaho and eastern Washington.
“They can go up and better investigate with some of the technology they have,” Reneau said.
Working from an RV-like vehicle parked in the staging area at Old Mill Loop, the bomb squad at 12:30 p.m. wheeled out a robot that trundled down a gangway and rolled across an empty Riverstone Drive to a black Mercedes parked in the Hampton Inn parking lot. No bomb was found.
Authorities called off the investigation around 2 p.m., which was too late for Taylor Sundquist, who manages Buckle, a retail clothing store in the village at Riverstone.
Whoever called in the bogus threat, Sundquist said, managed to stymie business for the day.
“Monday is usually our busiest day of the week,” Sundquist said. “But this really killed business for us today.”
He locked up after the lunch hour, as other surrounding businesses along North Main Street in the Village had also closed for the day.
False reports of explosives placed in public places is a felony that could result in a five-year prison term.