The package was reported around noon. Police say a driver told them someone put a briefcase in the back seat of his vehicle, which was not there when he first parked.
A robot was sent in to a parking structure below the Beverly Center to probe the package. The fire department doused the package before it was detonated by the bomb squad.
Officials evacuated the mall and shut down San Vicente Boulevard. The mall stopped the escalators so that the approximately 1500 people inside could walk up or down to get out.
"They said to evacuate that it wasn't a test, it was an emergency, to get out of there as soon as possible. They didn't say why but obviously it was because there was a bomb scare," said shopper Marina Gold.
Witnesses say some people panicked while others remained calm.
"One of our co-workers led us to a dead-end, so what was going through my mind was, 'We're all going to die.' But we turned around and ran back up and then we got with the rest of the mall employees," said mall employee Candice Porter.
The scene was cleared by 5 p.m., and shoppers were allowed back inside.