PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mysterious canisters placed at a utility pole Wednesday night shut down a busy intersection near a grocery store in Mount Lebanon.

The ordeal began around 7 p.m. at the light pole at the intersection of Greentree Road and Cochran Road. Four metal canisters were spotted leaning against the pole.

“The people that placed the canisters around the post actually got back into their vehicle and then drove away,” said Mount Lebanon Assistant Police Chief Aaron Lauth.

Police immediately shut down the area and evacuated customers out of nearby businesses, including a nearby Giant Eagle.

Bomb squad techs used robots to get close to the canisters.

“It was determined that one of the canisters was actually currently permeating a gas,” said Assistant Chief Lauth. “There was actually a valve on it that has a meter, and the meter is actually currently moving.”

Within minutes, police realized they had cans of gas and no threat.

“Basically, those types of cylinders could be used for welding, could have been basically like a contractors kit for welding, plumbing work,” said Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson.

The bottom line, law enforcement agencies say they can’t be careful enough.

“It’s the time that we’re in these days,” said Chief Henderson. “In today’s world, we have to raise our cautiousness and respond appropriately and keep in mind that it could be some act of terrorism that we might be dealing with.”

Regarding how the canisters got there, no one is certain.

“Probably, those cylinders were on some type of vehicle that possibly were not secured appropriately and then came off of the vehicle,” Chief Henderson said.

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