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Downtown Riverside Courthouses Reopen After Bomb Scare

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RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Three courthouses in downtown Riverside were evacuated Thursday following an anonymous threat that a bomb had been planted in one of the buildings.

“A male caller made threats, saying there was a bomb in a Riverside courthouse,” Riverside County sheriff’s Cpl. Courtney Donowho said. “They’re checking all the facilities to make sure they’re safe.”

The call was placed to San Bernardino County sheriff’s dispatch shortly after 8 a.m. According to Donowho, Riverside County authorities were immediately notified and began evacuating the Riverside Historic Courthouse,the Riverside Hall of Justice and the Family Law Court, all of which face one another in a one-block area along Main Street.

Donowho said more than 200 people emptied out of the buildings.

No harmful devices were found during a search of the three courthouses.

Deputies did locate three suspicious objects, including an abandoned briefcase, outside one of the buildings. Technicians disposed of two items, detonating them in blasts that echoed throughout downtown around noon.

Neither object contained explosives.

According to broadcast reports, a man calling from a pay phone in Bloomington told a San Bernardino County sheriff’s dispatcher that a bomb was going to detonate in the county jail. A moment or two later, he called again, saying the same thing about the Riverside court facilities.

Officials in San Bernardino County initiated a search of jails and courthouses there without ordering evacuations.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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