Half a block of the south side of University Avenue, between Milvia Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, was evacuated Tuesday following a bomb scare at the California Department of Corrections office.
The threat was called into the Berkeley Police Department around 10:30 a.m.
Christine Moore, deputy regional administrator for the Department of Corrections, said that a parolee had come to the office carrying a strange bag. A correctional officer became concerned after talking with the parolee.
“He was acting unusual and appeared somewhat disheveled,” said Moore.
The correctional officer notified the BPD Bomb Squad, and the parolee was taken into custody by officers from the Oakland Police Department, who happened to be on site.
Police arrived and emptied a number of businesses, stretching roughly from the parole office at 1950 University Ave., to the UC Berkeley Department of Capital Projects at 1936 University Ave., in the Promenade building.
BPD officers closed off the scene and sidewalk to pedestrian traffic.
A number of people gathered across the street to watch, while employees of the affected businesses hung out mostly along the edges of the crime scene, chatting with officers.
The California Highway Patrol arrived to offer traffic control support, but University Ave. was never closed to automobiles.
The BPD bomb squad entered the building through its back door on Addison St. after donning their puffy, bomb-proof suits.
Lt. Cynthia Harris of the Berkeley Police Department said the suspicious bag, which had wires sticking out of it, proved to contain a computer and other items.
Christine Shaff, communications manager for the UCB Department of Capital Projects office at 1936 University Ave., was standing with her office-mates at the corner of Addison St. and MLK Way.
Capital Projects employees carried color-coded folders carrying instructions and questionnaires.
“It’s nice to put our safety practices to the test,” she said.
The building was cleared at around 2:15 p.m., according to Moore, and all everyone was allowed to return to work.