Local News

Bomb threats force at least 8 courthouses to evacuate

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Multiple bomb threats forced at least six area courthouses to evacuate Thursday afternoon, and officials don't yet know if the threats were coordinated.

The Thurston County Courthouse complex was evacuated at roughly 4 p.m. after receiving a bomb threat over the phone. Workers in two of the three courthouse buildings left for the day as law enforcement swept the area.

Building number one, which houses inmates, was not evacuated.

As of 4:30 p.m., nothing suspicious had been found, but Washington State Patrol bomb sniffing dogs will continue searching.

Similar bomb threats forced Chelan and Douglas County officials to evacuate their courthouses, according to the Wenatchee World newspaper.

Wenatchee Police Chief Tom Robbins said a man called into the Chelan County Auditor's office at 3:15 p.m. claiming there were bombs in the courthouse set to go off in 18 minutes, according to the newspaper.

Authorities evacuated the courthouse and searched area, but did not find a bomb.

Douglas County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal told the Wenatchee World that the Douglas County Commissioner's Office received a phone call at 3:52, warning them of a bomb in the courthouse.

Deputies searched the courthouse, but didn't find any bombs.

The Benton and Adams County courthouses also received telephone bomb threats Thursday afternoon, according to county officials.

Adams County Undersheriff John W. Hunt said a man called the the Superior Court Clerk's Office just before 3:30 p.m. to say several bombs were in the building and would detinate in 20 minutes. The building was evactuated while deputies searched area. Nothing suspicious turned up and employees were let back into the building just before 4:30 p.m.

At roughly 3:20 p.m., a man called officials in Clark County and said there were several explosive devices inside the courthouse in Vancouver. The man said the bombs would go off in 20 minutes. The building was evacuated and searched, but no devices were found. The courthouse reopened a short time later.

Similar threats were called in to the Pacific and Columbia County courthouses.

King, Grays Harbor and Whatcom County officials say they did not receive any threats, and the Kitsap, Snohomish and Skagit County courthouses were all closed Thursday afternoon.