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Vehicle stopped at base gate with suspicious packages

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A man was stopped at the Vandenberg Air Force Base main gate at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 30 because of suspicious packages in his vehicle.

When questioned about the content of the packages, he would not say what was in them. Security forces personnel were called out as well as the fire department and personnel from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit to investigate the packages.

"At one point, the man said, 'Don't worry, I don't have a cell phone on me,'" said Lt. Col. Joe Milner, 30th Security Forces Squadron commander.

"For us that's a red flag," Colonel Milner added, noting that many security forces and other Vandenberg airmen have served in Iraq and Afghanistan where improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are detonated by cell phones or other electronics.

The man was taken into custody while EOD cleared the packages. A cordon was placed around the area and the main gate was closed until approximately 10:30 p.m.

"The highly trained members of security forces, the fire department and EOD showed their professionalism during this crisis" Colonel Milner said. "They ensured that the public's safety was our highest priority throughout the evening."

Six housing units were within the cordon. Due to vacations, four of the houses were unoccupied. The other two houses were evacuated while the investigation was conducted. The occupants were then allowed back into their houses.