Poughkeepsie Galleria Evacuated by Police
An emergency evacuation of the Poughkeepsie Galleria was initiated by police on Sunday afternoon and lasted throughout the evening.
At 3 p.m., police and mall personnel were waving away traffic as people approached the galleria, warning customers that the mall was evacuated for an emergency situation.
According to shoppers, a loud siren was sounded inside the galleria followed by flashing lights and a recording with instructions to quickly evacuate. Regal Cinemas quickly shut down their projectors and announced to moviegoers that they would need to leave through emergency exits as the mall was being completely shut down.
Employees and Shoppers Say They Were "Stunned" and "Panicked"
Some employees we talked to were visibly shaken and claimed that they were informed that the mall would remain evacuated for the rest of the day and they were unable to return to get their coats and cellphones.
Some shoppers were still gathered at the mall exits awaiting to be reunited with family, explaining that they were terrified when the alarm went off. Those in the movie theater say they immediately feared the worst when the film stopped and they were directed to leave. One person at the theater explained their state of mind as "panicked."
Poughkeepsie Galleria Evacuation Order Made by Police
The Town of Poughkeepsie Police issued a message on its Facebook page explaining that the Poughkeepsie Galleria was currently the scene of an investigation.
There is currently a police investigation at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The decision has been made with Galleria Management to evacuate the mall out of precaution.
Customers could be seen seeking shelter from the rain at the mall entrances. A large group of teens were spotted attempting to call parents to pick them up while poking their heads out from under the Poughkeepsie Galleria's covered parking garage.
Police cars were patrolling the perimeter of the mall, but not giving out any information other than the area was completely off-limits. The Poughkeepsie Galleria has not returned our request for a statement.
The cause of the evacuation of the Poughkeepsie Galleria
There has been lots of online speculation about what caused the evacuation, but as of now Town of Poughkeepsie Police are only saying that "there is no threat to the public at this time" and that an investigation is still ongoing.
Police were urging the public to avoid the area until the investigation was complete. Late Sunday police announced that the mall had been cleared and indicated that it would open as usual on Monday.
We have updated this story with new information from police that reveals the reason for the evacuation.
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