BY KEN LITTLE
No dangerous materials were found Monday in packages left across the area at forest ranger stations, post offices and other locations, including the U.S. Forest Service's Cherokee National Forest headquarters at 4900 Asheville Hwy.
A U.S. Forest Service employee arriving at work about 7:35 a.m. Monday found a 14-by-12 inch package on the front porch swing.
"The package was very suspicious since no packages are delivered on weekends," sheriff's Lt. Wesley Holt said in a report.
The ranger informed his supervisor, who in turn contacted the Sheriff's Department. The FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also notified.
The area was secured and Asheville Highway blocked off while the Greeneville Bomb Squad, consisting of members of the Greeneville Police Department, was notified and inspected the package.
(Editor's Note: through newspaper error, the bomb squad was incorrectly referred to in Monday's issue as the Greene County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad. The Sun regrets the error.)
The investigation showed the package "was found to be legitimate," Holt said in the report.
Sheriff Steve Burns said Monday that the package "turned out to be a legitimate UPS package delivered over the weekend."
A bomb team with a robot investigated the package, Burns said.
Authorities in Johnson City and Bristol responded to suspicious packages left at post office locations and other sites.
Johnson City police Chief Mark Sirois said in a report that the person who delivered packages "to numerous businesses throughout Johnson City as well as the Tri-Cities area" has been identified.
"After speaking with this individual, it has been determined that there was neither criminal intent nor threat to harm by this person. The packages were meant as gifts," the report said.
The FBI, ATF and local police explosive ordinance units assisted at other sites where suspicious packages were left, the report said.
Forest service employees at the Asheville Highway location were kept away from the property for several hours Monday while the investigation was completed.