BEVERLY HILLS — A letter filled with a suspicious white powder received at the Giorgio Armani store early Wednesday prompted closing of the 400 block of Rodeo Drive and a police investigation.

Police and firefighters responded to the 8:15 a.m. call, in turn bringing out the FBI and a team with Hazardous-Material capabilities to test the unknown substance. A preliminary test on-site showed it was negative for toxic material, according to Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mitch McCann, adding that the multiagency response is the routine protocol in these situations. "It’s been sent to a lab for a definitive test," he continued. "As for the letter, we will begin an investigation."

This is the first such incident to occur at a Rodeo Drive business.

By early afternoon, a fire truck and a few police sedans were still out front, but business resumed along the tony thoroughfare — albeit slower than usual, according to several retailers.

"We didn’t know what to think," said one employee at a luxury flagship, "what is it — the pret-a-porter of Al Qaeda making the threat?"

Giorgio Armani Corp. issued a brief release Wednesday in which it would only say the letter was "suspicious," noting "authorities had confirmed there is no indication of any specific hazard," and added the company’s gratitude to local and national agencies for a "quick and efficient response."

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