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Package Setting Off Central Park Bomb Scare Not Suspicious, NYPD Says

By Jess Wisloski | April 21, 2013 11:25am | Updated on April 21, 2013 2:39pm

CENTRAL PARK — A bicyclist wearing a backpack triggered a brief bomb scare during a Central Park foot race on Sunday before being deemed "non suspicious" by the NYPD bomb squad, cops said.

An officer patrolling the City Parks Foundation Run for Parks as part of a beefed up security force in response to last week's Boston Marathon bombing stopped the cyclist shortly before 9 a.m.

NYPD tactical units scrambled with bomb-sniffing dogs to the site on the 4-mile route and determined that the man's bag was not a threat, according to the NYPD and Twitter users.

Extra officers were added to monitor the race after three people were killed and over 100 injured by two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston race on April 15. Following a tense week long manhunt during which an MIT security officer was killed, one suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed and his brother, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, arrested for the attack.

Runners had already been asked by the race's organizers, New York Road Runners, not to bring any bags or backpacks to the running grounds on Sunday, as a security measure.

The Central Park investigation briefly disrupted the race.

Davidson Goldin — who tweeted several photos of police investigating the scene reported that the race was rerouted over the bomb scare.

"Central Park race diverted @ 81st st bc of suspicious package," he tweeted, with a photo of a park pathway blocked by an NYPD van. He later posted an image of a police dog sniffing near a curbside.

Twitter user Ahvi Spindell, who also posted a photo of the investigation, noted, "Suspicious package response in Central Park. A result of the Boston marathon?"

New York Road Runners refused to answer any questions about the disruption, referring all questions to police.

During his weekly radio address the mayor noted extra security had been added to the Central Park run and the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk, also being run on Sunday, to protect the runners.

“We’re also doing everything possible to protect New Yorkers from any related threats that might emerge. We fully mobilized our counter-terrorism resources immediately after the Boston bombing, and we’ve adjusted those measures as we learned more about that attack," he said on 1010 WINS.

"The public can still expect to see heightened NYPD presence at the events this morning – right now as I speak to you – including a Memorial run and walk on the West Side of Manhattan and another run in Central Park.