Great Mall in Olathe back to normal after suspicious package found

Business has returned to normal after the Great Mall of the Great Plains was evacuated this afternoon when a suspicious package was found.

The Olathe Fire Department’s bomb squad had evacuated the northeast corner of the mall after the box was found inside the Home and Hobby entrance to the mall, according to Capt. Mike Hall, a spokesman for the fire department.

Someone called 911 about noon and reported the package as suspicious.

The bomb squad responded and deployed its recently acquired robot, a Remotec Andros F6B named Tin Man II. The robot is a basic explosive ordinance disposal robot that has an arm that can be manipulated to do such things as open doors. It is equipped to render suspicious packages safe.

The robot was acquired recently after the Olathe Fire Department secured a $151,000 Urban Areas Security Initiative federal grant through the Mid-America Regional Council.

The fire department’s six-member squad has been training with the robot during April.

Details of what was in the box was not immediately available, but fire officials said the mall had returned to normal.