UPDATED: All clear after packages force county employee evacuations

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan Health and Social Services departments were evacuated Tuesday after a man dropped off packages and left.

The packages, which contained the man’s clothes and toiletries, were found to be harmless, said Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes.

The man has a history of mental health and substance abuse issues and was seeking care at the Rowan County Health Department before leaving. Because of his behavior when he left the packages, Stokes said, they were treated as being potentially dangerous.

At about 10:30 a.m., the man arrived at the Health Department in what police described as well-dressed attire carrying two packages. He told staff that they were “important and valuable” and that he needed to leave them at the department. Stokes said the man had trouble articulating himself, appeared to be anxious and ran from the building.

Employees were evacuated from the Health Department and Social Services building on East Innes Street, emptying out a parking lots that’s normally packed with cars.

Police shut down portions of Faith Road and Innes Street for a few hours and requested assistance from the Cabarrus County Bomb Squad.

Stokes said officials talked to the man who left the packages and confirmed that nothing harmful was inside.

The man will not face any charges.

Stokes said around 1 p.m. that the roads wouldn’t be closed much longer and that health and social services employees would return to the building.