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Man left bag near tracks, then went ‘huffing’: police

Updated: October 4, 2013 1:54PM

LAKE FOREST — A man who locked himself in the bathroom of a CVS store to sniff a cleaning product, left his duffel bag near tracks on Metra’s Union Pacific-North Line, causing delays of about 90 minutes Friday, according to police.

Two Union Pacific maintenance workers saw the man place a large duffel bag near the railroad tracks near Westminster Road in Lake Forest and walk away just after 9 a.m. Friday, according to Lake Forest police. The bag was about 200 yards north of the village’s east side Metra station.

All trains were stopped, and car and foot traffic in the area was shut down as a precaution, police said.

The Waukegan Fire Department Bomb Unit was called and officers began searching for the man who left the bag, described as a white male with a heavy beard wearing a camouflage jacket, heavy black boots, a baseball cap and carrying a backpack.

The bomb squad examined the duffel and determined it did not contain explosives or hazardous materials, police said.

Officers found the suspect inside the CVS at 500 N. Western Ave., where he had locked himself in a bathroom, police said. The store was evacuated and police entered the bathroom, where they found the man huffing from two cans of computer keyboard cleaner he had stolen, according to police.

Charles E. Mills, 30, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, use of intoxicating compounds, and retail theft, police said.

Mills, of the 1300 block of North Western Avenue in Lake Forest, is expected to appear in bond court later Friday.

The street was reopened to car and pedestrian traffic about 10:55 a.m., police said. Trains started running a few minutes after 11 a.m., Metra spokesman Tom Miller said.

Trains were delayed for up to 95 minutes, according to Metra.

It was the second time in a week Metra trains were delayed because of a suspicious package. On Wednesday a package left on a train platform at the Van Buren Metra station in the Loop delayed trains for more than an hour. It turned out to be a cooler.

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