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'Suspicious' package disrupts L.A. Anime Expo

July 2, 2011 |  1:52 pm

Many anime aficionados are attracted to the dramatic situations presented in Japanese animation productions, but some fans got a taste of real-life drama Saturday when a major anime convention in Los Angeles was briefly disrupted by a visit from the LAPD bomb squad.

Convention-goers dressed as their favorite superheroes and villains were cleared from the South Hall lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center while officers investigated reports of a "suspicious crate" at 10:45 a.m., according to a department spokesperson.

The object was ultimately determined to be a basket belonging to a homeless person, said Anime Expo spokesman Jim Yeager. The objects that caused concern were a jug of water and a brown paper bag, which was ultimately determined to contain some personal items, he said.

Yeager said people were cleared from the lobby and the area was condoned off while police investigated, but the convention center was not evacuated. The entire incident lasted less than an hour, he said.

The four-day event was expected to draw about 100,000 people, many of them in colorful costumes, carrying props and striking poses.

-- Abby Sewell