PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested a man who they say purposely left behind a backpack that had the appearance of an explosive on a MAX train, which resulted in a closure of a Northeast Portland transit center and nearby Interstate 84 on Friday.
Wilfredo Reyes, 59, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of false report, disorderly conduct, interfering with public transportation, and possession of a hoax device.
Portland police believe Reyes intentionally set up the backpack to look like a suspicious device and left it behind on a MAX Green line train Friday afternoon. Furthermore, police believe Reyes was the person who reported the suspicious backpack near the Hollywood Transit Center.
The report came in at around 12:15 p.m. The Hollywood Transit Center was closed soon after the report and remained closed until 4 p.m.
MAX blue, green and red lines were disrupted. Police said all TriMet trains and buses were searched following the report. No suspicious devices were found on the trains or buses.
At the transit center, police used a bomb squad robot and controlled explosion on the backpack.
Portland police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley said, "the backpack appeared to look like a device." He said items were protruding from the backpack, likely with the intent to lead people to think it was an explosive device.
Police said investigators gathered evidence that connected Reyes to the backpack. He was located by Transit Division officers near West Burnside Street and 5th Avenue shortly after it was determined the backpack posed no danger.
The Oregon Department of Transportation closed westbound Interstate 84 from 82nd Avenue to 33rd Avenue at 1 p.m. ODOT tweeted it was opening the freeway at 2:40 p.m., after police destroyed the device. Northeast Halsey Street, near the MAX station, was also temporarily shut down in both directions.
The incident comes two weeks to the day after police said a man stabbed three people, two of them fatally, after yelling racial epithets at two young girls on a MAX train. The stabbing occurred near the Hollywood Transit Center.
TriMet heightened security after the stabbing.
TriMet spokeswoman Robert Altstadt said shuttle buses were serving stations between the Northeast 7th Avenue Station and the Gateway Transit Center. TriMet alerts
On May 10, police were called to the report of a suspicious device about a block away from the Hollywood Transit Center. A suitcase full of clothing was destroyed without incident.
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