transbay closure.jpg

2:31 PM (BCN): A gym bag left behind on a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus this morning prompted a police bomb squad response that shut down several city blocks for an hour and a half.

The driver of a 5-Fulton bus discovered the large bag in the back of the empty bus during a routine inspection as the bus was parked at the Transbay Terminal at the end of its route, Muni spokesman Judson True said. The terminal is located at First and Mission streets.

The driver notified her supervisor, who also found the bag suspicious and called police at about 10:45 a.m. Police sent in a bomb squad and contacted the fire department and the CHP, since the Transbay Terminal is a state-owned building.

Streets were shut down in the area and a shelter-in-place warning was issued for the Transbay Terminal and nearby businesses.

The bomb-squad X-rayed the black bag and determined that it was harmless, police spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams said.

Streets reopened and police began to leave the area at about 12:15 p.m.

CHP Officer Shawn Chase said the bag contained items including women’s leather boots, a leather jacket, undergarments and leotards. He said the owner has not yet come forward.

Chase said that despite the interruption to business and transit, the response by the Muni driver and police showed appropriate caution.

“The driver did everything right, that’s what we want to see happen,” he said. “Luckily it turned out to be nothing.”

Today’s incident came about a week and a half after federal authorities issued terrorism warnings to mass transit agencies nationwide in light of an alleged terrorism plot currently under investigation.

“I’m sure that was on everyone’s minds,” Chase said.

12:49 PM: The Chronicle weighs in, with new details like the suspicious 2-foot-long, black gym bag had a “Green Point Mortgage” logo, and that the SFPD bomb squad and some CHP officers x-rayed the bag to find it “packed with clothes.”

Which, of course, made me wonder if Muni has a lost and found. And, sure enough it does! Have fun picking up that bag, Mr./Ms. Green Point.

12:48 PM: BCN reports, as if you hadn’t guessed, that the “suspicious package,” a gym bag left on a 5 Fulton Muni bus, “was deemed harmless.”

12:17 PM: AlertSF reports that “Transbay Terminal situation is resolved. ALL CLEAR. Area is reopening. Be aware that traffic will be backed up for awhile. Thanks for your patience.” Judson True, in his announcement that regular Muni service was resuming, added some details to the tale of the suspicious package: “The police activity resulted after a Muni Operator on a 5 Fulton bus discovered a large gym bag in the back of the bus on a routine sweep of the vehicle at the end of a trip. The Operator notified a Muni supervisor who notified the SF Police Department.”

12:11 AM: Friend of the Appeal logainne says “We hear tons of helicopters from our building in the FiDi.” At the risk of making light of what could be a very serious situation, can we just say that if this is all an elaborate promotion for Trauma, we are going to be PISSED.

11:48 AM (BCN): Police and firefighters have been called to investigate a report of a suspicious package in the area of San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal this
morning, fire spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The terminal is located at First and Mission streets.

An employee of a Walgreens store at that intersection said at about 11:30 a.m. that the store was being evacuated.

Police were not immediately available to provide details.

11:43 AM: KCBS is reporting that the police activity is an investigation of a “suspicious package found on board a Muni bus” which is currently “parked in front of the terminal near First and Second Streets.”

The street closures they note are: Mission Street from Beale to Second, and Fremont and First from Market to Howard. The Fremont off-ramp from 80 is also closed, and several local businesses have been evacuated.

11:41 AM: As SFist has noted, AlertSF is warning folks away from the Transbay Terminal, saying “Due to a hazard near the Transbay Terminal, avoid area for the next 90 minutes.” and that

“If you are in that area you should stay inside and avoid windows and glassed areas. This message should be passed on to others in your building if your building is near this area.”

According to SF MTA spokseperson Judson True Muni routes that serve the terminal are being rerouted around the area due to police activity. That’s the:

5 Fulton
6 Parnassus
10 Townsend
14 Mission
38 Geary
108 Treasure Island

True also says that Mission Street between 2nd and Beale is closed, so the 14 is switching back at 3rd Street.

SFist is reporting a bomb truck in the area, but we haven’t been able to confirm this. You’ll know more when we do.

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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