SKOWHEGAN — A portion of U.S. Route 201 in Skowhegan was blocked this morning but has since been reopened following a report of a suspicious-looking box that drew a sizable response from police, fire and rescue officials and the state bomb squad.

Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam said crews responded to a report of a suspicious package at the business called AtWork Personnel Services, at 91 Madison Ave., next to Cumberland Farms. Bucknam said the state police bomb squad had been called to investigate, but later was turned back.

The Route 201, also known as Madison Avenue, was opened back up just before 10:50 a.m. and the emergency radio signal was canceled. The road had been blocked off by fire and police crews from the Cumberland Farms store to Whit’s End Restaurant. Yellow police tape crossed Madison Avenue at Winter Street, and was blocked by Skowhegan’s ladder truck at the south end of the avenue by Cumberland Farms.

A call of suspicious activity or person was reported on Madison at 7:38 a.m., according to emergency dispatch logs. The call drew involvement from Bucknam, town police officers, local fire and rescue crews as well as a Maine fire marshal.

Bucknam said by phone later that the incident was sparked by the presence of a box at the AtWork offices and by a cryptic voicemail message from a former employee.

“The package just contained some roadwork equipment that was returned from a former employee,” Bucknam said. “But the employee had left a disturbing voicemail message that warranted us to take the precautions we took today.”

Bucknam said the former employee left a shoe-box-size package outside with a voicemail message saying to open the box at 8 a.m. “for a surprise.”

AtWork employees alerted authorities when they saw the box and heard the voicemail message from the former employee, a man.

Bucknam said charges “could be possible” against the man who left the box and the message. The man was not identified by police because no charges had been filed.

The police chief said the incident is being investigated by Detective Sgt. Don Avery, who will be meeting with the district attorney’s office later to discuss the case.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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