A man connected to Tuesday's Capitol Square bomb scare is in custody and Madison Police have cordoned off the Main Street side of the Capitol Square due to a second suspicious package discovered Wednesday afternoon.
According to a report from Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain, two construction workers witnessed an individual attaching a backpack to the tree in front of Walgreens on Tuesday afternoon.
"These workers gave us a very good description of this individual. We told them if they saw him again to call us immediately," says DeSpain.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, the same construction workers saw the man on West Main Street and called police. According to DeSpain, when police confronted the man -- identified by police Wednesday afternoon as David R. Floyd, 67 -- he threatened the officers and was placed into custody. Two charges have been referred to the Dane County District Attorney: One count of felony bomb scare and one count of disorderly conduct while armed for carrying what police are calling a "straight-edged weapon."
DeSpain says, however, that Floyd had other items "of concern" with him today, including a bike with saddle bags, pictured in the gallery at top right, which is the focus of the Dane County Sheriff bomb squad at this time. On Tuesday, the same squad detonated the contents of a backpack left in front of the Walgreens on East Main Street by a man fitting Floyd's description. DeSpain describes the contents of the backpack as something that "at least looked like an I.E.D," which stands for Improvised Explosive Device and is a term often used in connection with bombs used by Iraqi insurgents against U.S. troops. According to DeSpain, I.E.D. "is the term the detectives are using. Anything that someone can build themselves that can blow up is an I.E.D."
At this point, police are not sure if the item found Tuesday was capable of exploding or was simply a ruse, but the state crime lab is investigating it.
According to DeSpain, a group of officers, including Phil Yahnke, the department's sketch artist, were on their way to meet with the construction workers to get a description of the suspect when they received word from dispatch that the man had been spotted on West Main Street.
Traffic to Square re-routed to outer ring, Concert on the Square to continue as scheduled
As of 1 p.m., the entire Main Street side of the Square is cordoned off, including both sections of Capitol Square lawn where picnickers are already gathering for Wednesday night's Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra concert. The cordoned area includes two blocks of South Carroll Street, ending at West Washington Ave.
The Dane County Sheriff's bomb squad has once again been dispatched. According to DeSpain, they will evaluate items in the saddle bags and "make them safe," a process that could involve detonating them.
DeSpain stressed that police do not believe there is any immediate danger, but police are taking precautions. "If things transpire as they did yesterday, we should be able to clear things up pretty easily," he says.
Neighborhood businesses told to keep people inside
Don Gautreau, owner of Brocach Irish Pub, says he and his staff are pretty much in the dark about what's going on.
"The police came up and asked us to have our guests move inside and away from the windows," he says. The police later returned to make sure there was an exit they could use to leave via the back of the building, he adds. "Our front door is not in play."
Inn on the Park manager George Wiesner says police have not said anything to him about evacuating the hotel yet. "We are cooperating with the police," Wiesner says. "We just can't have people out in front."
On Tuesday afternoon, an entire section of the Capitol Square was shut down after pedestrians called in reports of a fire in a backpack hanging from a tree in front of the Walgreens on East Main. After several hours of preparation, this was destroyed by the Dane County bomb squad in a pair of controlled explosions, with investigators later investigating the backpack's remains.
While Tuesday's bomb scare was disruptive to traffic, today's may cause even more problems, as the lawn around the Capitol is already buzzing with preparations for the final Concerts on the Square of the season. All sidewalks are expected to be cleared by 4 p.m. in time for the show.