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Police: Suspicous powder was woman's ashes

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 3:10 am | Updated: 10:27 pm, Tue Dec 31, 2013.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Police have determined the makeup of the mysterious white powder that caused a lockdown at Westfield Southgate mall Tuesday.

Sarasota Police announced Wednesday that the person that spread the substance was a man mourning the loss of his fiancée, and decided to spread her ashes in the LensCrafters store.

According to Lt. Pat Ledwith with the Sarasota Police Department, the man has been spreading the ashes in areas around town that were special to him and his fiancée.

Detectives were able to identify the person, but have not charged him with anything.  He told investigators that he was sorry and did not intend to cause harm.

Officials placed the mall on lockdown shortly after the incident Tuesday until the substance was confirmed to be safe.

There was speculation right after the initial incident that the white looking powder might have been anthrax.

"We are relieved in this case that the substance was not harmful.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but in these types of situations our response was necessary and appropriate," said Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

According to Lt. Pat Ledwith with the Sarasota Police Department, the man has been spreading the ashes in areas around town that were special to him and his fiancée. One of those locations just happened to be LensCrafters.

Nobody injuries or medical issues were reported.

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