Toy Grenade Forces Evacuation of World Financial Center Tower

A private security guard noticed the item in a screening and notified police

A World Financial Center building across the street from the World Trade Center was evacuated Thursday because of a suspicious package that turned out to contain a toy grenade, police said.

Police said a private security guard noticed the package during an X-ray screening at 2 World Financial Center, a 44-story building with 2.7 million square feet of office space.

The item, which came through the mail, turned out to be a novelty grenade mounted on a plaque that read "Complaint Department. Please Take A Number," police said.

A law enforcement source tells NBC New York that a maintenance worker at the building had ordered the item and had it shipped to him there.

People were let back into the building about an hour and a half after police were called.

The World Financial Center is home to major financial institutions including Merrill Lynch, Deloitte and OppenheimerFunds Inc.

Several employees said an announcement came over the building loudspeakers telling them to evacuate as quickly as possible.

Octavio Diaz was wearing a neon yellow backpack as he helped lead his co-workers out of the building to a nearby volleyball court, where they waited until the all-clear.

"Stuff like this happens, so you've got to take it seriously," he said. "We're ready to go."

The World Financial Center complex is made up of four glass and copper-crowned towers and encompasses more than eight million square feet of office space.

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