Independence Visitor Center reopens after security scare

April 22, 2013 6:25:18 AM PDT
The Independence Visitor Center was briefly shut down after the report of a suspicious person and a man was taken into custody.

Authorities surrounded the center at 6th and Market streets Sunday afternoon and evacuated the building.

Investigators say it was all because of a man dressed in camouflage, who they described as suspicious.

He was apparently living in his car in the underground garage of the Visitor Center.

"The vehicle had quite a bit of trash and some strange items in it. I didn't see the vehicle, inside the vehicle, but it was enough to call our ordinance disposal out," said Lt. Joseph McGarrey.

So with the bomb squad and police dogs, officers checked out that vehicle, the garage and building but did not find anything.

Action News reporter John Rawlins recorded exclusive cell phone video of the man being taken into custody.

Action News has decided to blur his face because of a question about his mental state.

The man claimed the mafia and the Hell's Angels were after him and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was trying to persecute him.

His behavior was enough for authorities to shut down parts of the historic area especially in light of heightened security after the Boston Marathon bombings.

"There are potential threats all the time and unfortunately that's a reality that we have to live with for the rest of our lives and in future generations," said Mike Radcliffe.

Tourists visiting the sites on Independence Mall say they've also been on alert but they haven't let the events of the week stop them from traveling.

"We've done everything that we were planning on doing and continue to do that and we've just enjoyed our time," said Jeff Stuart.

Meanwhile, police say it doesn't appear that any charges will be filed.