By Hiroko Sato
GROTON — A bomb threat hoax prompted police to shut down the downtown briefly on Monday afternoon, sending officers into the street with guns drawn.
The Groton Police Department cordoned off a section of the downtown near Town Hall along Main Street (Route 119) after receiving a report of an alleged hostage situation via phone at 1:46 p.m. The caller indicated that someone had harmed another person, police said in a statement. Police then received a second call, noting that there could be explosives at the same location.
Groton police officers conducted a thorough search of the site and determined it was safe. Police have not identified the street address of the premises in question.
Therese Taylor, who works at The Natural Market, which is located just outside the cordoned-off area on Main Street, said she became aware of the incident when a customer came back into the store per police order. Taylor said she saw some officers on Main Street with rifles drawn but pointed down. People were told to stay indoors, she said.
The scare didn’t last longer, however. The street reopened in about a half hour, Town Clerk Michael Bouchard said.
State police bomb squad and troopers from the Leominster barracks responded along with units from the police departments in Ayer, Dunstable, Pepperell and Littleton.
Police continue the investigation into the incident.