Suspicious package found in Hopewell turned out to be empty

On Thursday afternoon, police in Hopewell Township received a call about a suspicious package at the Hopewell Gardens apartment complex on Denow Road. A cardboard package with suspicious writing on it had been left just outside of the mail room by an unknown person.

Police, assisted by Hopewell Valley Emergency Services personnel and members of the Pennington Fire Company, evacuated the east wing of the building as a safety precaution. Hopewell Township officers, assisted by the Pennington Borough Police Department, also closed a section of Denow Road in front of the complex.

A person of interest in the matter was detained for questioning, police said.

Members of the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit responded to the scene to examine the package, which was deemed to be empty and harmless. A Mercer County Sheriff Officer and K-9 then conducted a search of the building. The building was declared safe and residents were able to return to their apartments at approximately 7:25 p.m.

After further investigation, the person of interest, Masanoly Aiken, 56, was placed under arrest. Aiken, a Hopewell Gardens resident, was charged with false public alarm, making terroristic threats, and causing or risking widespread injury or damage. He is currently in custody at the Hopewell Township Police Department, and his case is being forwarded to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for review, officials said.