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UPDATED: 'Suspicious Device' on Hwy 111 Prompts Road Closure, Evacuations

The sheriff's department is investigating the case, and have shut down a stretch of Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.

Update 2:30 p.m.: 

Highway 111 remains closed at this time as authorities prepare to examine a possible bomb that was found on a car.

According to Corporal Angel Ramos, a recovered stolen vehicle was brought into Desert European Motorcars Friday morning.  

Apparently, as a mechanic put the vehicle on a lift and began to examine it, he noticed a few suspicious things-- starting with a leaking gas tank, and a "putty" like substance. 

"Then he sees a battery near where the gas tank is, which is extremely unusual," Ramos explained to Patch.  "He backed away from the car and called authorities." 

As of 2:15 p.m. the county's hazardous devices team was suiting up to examine the vehicle.

What's more, surrounding businesses have been evacuated, Ramos said.

“We’re not going to risk lives, so we are taking all precautionary measures that are needed," Ramos said.

The vehicle was reported stolen out of Palm Springs on Christmas Eve, and was recovered by that city's police department on Jan. 8, according to Ramos, who said he didn't know the specific make off-hand.

The car was towed to Desert European Motorcars Friday morning.

In addition to the hazardous devices team, Cal Fire, Rancho Mirage Police and Riverside County Sheriff's deputies are all on scene, according to the corporal.

The road closure-- which has been updated as between Indian Trail and Library Way-- will remain in effect until further notice.

Original story as follows: 

Drivers are urged to avoid a stretch of Highway 111 in the Rancho Mirage area Friday afternoon, as police shut down the roadway for an investigation.

Authorities are investigating a "suspicious device" on Highway 111, according to deputies.

The heavily travelled highway has been closed down for about two miles between Bob Hope and Country Club drives, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

There's no immediate word as to when it will reopen.

Stay with Palm Desert Patch for more as it develops.

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