KITTERY — Four hours after police had cordoned off the area around a shuttle bus stop Friday because of a suspicious package found there, the owner returned to retrieve the blue duffel bag, which contained her clothes.

A Maine State Police explosives disposal unit had arrived in Kittery at 3:30 p.m. to help local authorities deal with the unattended bag at the corner of Hunter Road and Water Street.

Police and firefighters evacuated two homes and a lobster pound and kept people about a quarter-mile away for hours after a person reported the unattended bag at a stop for a shuttle bus that runs hourly between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H.

Interim Chief Theodor Short of the Kittery police said U.S. Route 1 in the area was closed off, but that caused less of an inconvenience than it would ordinarily because Memorial Bridge is closed for construction work.

Chrystal Ryan saw the commotion when she returned to the area to reclaim her bag. Ryan, who is homeless and had spent the night at the Northeaster Motel on the U.S. Route 1 Bypass, said she left the bag at the bus stop temporarily while she went to retrieve her sleeping bag from the motel. Along the way, she stopped to have coffee with her boyfriend at the Circle K convenience store.

The event reflects the heightened vigilance that many people feel since two homemade bombs inside backpacks went off at the Boston Marathon two weeks ago.

A massive manhunt led to the killing of one suspect in the bombing and the capture of a second suspect, his brother.

Short said his department’s response is no different from what it would have been in the past, but he thinks the public response is different.

“On the civilian side of things, they’re more aware of these things than they were two weeks ago,” Short said.

Deb Braun, a Kittery resident who was out for her daily walk with her golden retriever, Mya, said she can feel the difference since the Boston bombings happened.

“I think ‘anxiety’ is a perfect word,” she said. “I think people are really on alert lately.” In the past, she has seen backpacks and duffle bags left in the park alongside the U.S. 1 approach to the Memorial Bridge and not thought twice about it.

“But I would today, and I guess somebody else did too,” she said.

Short said that while police thought it likely that a traveler simply had forgotten his or her bag, they regarded it as potentially dangerous when it went unclaimed for more than three hours.

The Boston bombings also have led departments to evaluate their preparedness for such a situation, Short said. The lengthy response time to get a bomb disposal unit from Augusta might be something worth examining further, he said.

On Friday, as the state police bomb disposal unit drove away, Ryan called after them, “Sorry.”

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