Police investigate suspicious package at Smith Memorial Hall


The Daily Illini File Photo

University police patrolling Green and Wright Street on Aug. 8, 2020. Police investigate suspicious package found at Smith Memorial Hall with no threat detected.

Animated map showing location of Smith Memorial Hall

Post updated March 25 at 3:02 p.m.

On Wednesday night, police investigated a suspicious package found at Smith Memorial Hall, located at 805 S. Mathews Ave. in Urbana.

An Illini Alert was sent to the campus community urging people inside and within the vicinity of the building to clear the area at 8:27 p.m. By 8:51 p.m., a second alert was sent stating that the emergency had ended.

“We were called to investigate a suspicious package and determined that there was no threat,” said Jason Bradley, a University Police lieutenant.

According to Patrick Wade, spokesperson for the UIPD, the package was determined to be a toolbox related to a University project in the building.

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Matt Kelley, freshman in FAA, was inside the building watching a performance when police entered, asking everyone to leave.

“It was kind of shocking, that was the first time I’ve been in a performance and it was just kind of interrupted and ended like that,” Kelley said.

Kelley said there’s a photo circulating online of a metal box covered in stickers that students suspect was the package in question. According to Kelley, it had been seen in the building since last semester.

Patrick Wade, spokesperson for UIPD, said the box in the photo seems to be what was initially reported. The person who alerted UIPD was someone who regularly frequents the building and had never seen the box before, he said.

“We can’t assume that that person is incorrect, we have to go with the information that we get from that called,” Wade said. “We always err on the side of caution in those situations because we don’t want to assume everything’s okay and have the worst happen.”‘

Kelley said having Illini Alerts sent out about a building he regularly goes to created some unease.

“You get these Illini Alerts, but being in the place where these things actually happen was kind of a weird feeling,” Kelley said.

Kelley was attending a piano recital for Chanmi Lee, graduate student in FAA, who he said kept playing instinctually even as the police interrupted her performance.

“Having worked so hard on something like that, just to have it end abruptly … it’s kind of devastating,” Kelley said.

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