A 52-year-old man is in custody following a bomb scare in Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday morning.
The alarm was raised at about 7.45am after the “erratic” man was seen pushing a shopping trolley full of petrol cans and suspected hazardous materials into an office building on William Street.
In photos of the incident, a tank of helium and empty bottles could also be seen on a side table as well as an empty methylated spirits bottle beside the trolley.
It’s alleged that the man made threats, spilt fluids on the ground and hung up a sign that read “shoot me” in the foyer of CGU Insurance.
Among a range of insurance companies and law firms, the building also houses the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Court Services Victoria.
Police were forced to lock down the surrounding area and barricade several major streets, with traffic on William Street between Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street blocked in both directions.
Tram services were also diverted while all pedestrians were redirected away from the scene.
As officers negotiated with the man he could be heard crying, before the critical incident response team finally managed to arrest him at about 8.30am.
While the man wasn’t injured in the incident, he was taken to hospital for observation under police guard.
‘Trolley full of chemicals’
Witness Sam Di Palma explained that he was grabbing a coffee when he saw the man in the building with a trolley and officers trying to talk to him.
“A bloke [was] behind a counter with a trolley full of chemicals or explosives,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
Daniel Safstrom also witnessed the incident and said the police “sent one of their guys in to sit down and negotiate".
“I’m a bit shocked to be honest,” he told AAP. “It’s something a bit different.”
The scene has since been declared safe after Fire Victoria established the fluid involved in the incident was just water.
“The investigation is still ongoing as we know, there was no property damage and no injury to any persons,” Acting Senior Sergeant Bonnie Heazlewood said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.