Monday, September 12, 2011

Federal Courthouse in WPB evacuated this morning (UPDATED -- Courthouse reopened)

From the PBP:

A federal courthouse in Florida has been evacuated while authorities investigate a suspicious vehicle parked nearby.

West Palm Beach police spokesman Chase Scott says a police dog alerted to the possibility of explosives inside the rental van after 8 a.m. Monday. It was being checked because of unspecified derogatory comments written on the outside of the van.

A post office and a state health department building were also evacuated.

A police bomb squad and Homeland Security Department officials were among those responding to the situation.

Authorities have been on heightened alert nationwide for potential terrorist activity coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

UPDATE -- OK, back to work. The courthouse has been reopened. Here's the coverage:

West Palm Beach Police have determined that a "suspicious van" parked across from the federal courthouse downtown is not a threat and begun the process of clearing the scene, according to police spokesman Chase Scott.

He said hundreds of workers are being let back into the federal courthouse, Florida Health Department, U.S. Post Office and other surrounding buildings.

It's still unclear why a police bomb-sniffing dog alerted on the rental box-style moving van this morning, Scott said. It could have been some previous cargo in the unattended vehicle, which had been parked "for at least a day."

But the van's side panel attracted attention with the block-lettered message: "Google Edgar Bushey. Frank Baker PBSO lied and did no investigation" - a message that Scott characterized as "anti-law enforcement."

"Given the date, the location, the fact that it was a rental vehicle, has (anti-law enforcement) graffiti all over it," Scott added, "We were taking an abundance of precautions."

The van is being impounded and is now the subject of a West Palm Beach police investigation, he said. It is unclear who owns the van. A Google search of the name, "Edgar Bushey," takes one to a website and seemingly official documents regarding a 1995 sexual assault investigation.


Anonymous said...

First Amendment impounded by overzealous dog and overly- sensitive police?

Anonymous said...

Gee, Dave. Let's see. The dog "alerted" because he (1) is poorly trained, (2) was prompted by the dopey cop who can read (maybe) what's written on the van, (3) had to pee, (4) smelled the McDonald's wrappers on the inside, or (5) all of the above. You decide. In any event, it was probably more healthy for the poor slobs that work in that mold trap to get some fresh air. All's well that ends well.

Rumpole said...

I had nothing to do with this.

Anonymous said...

officials determined whether or not the unattended vehicle, which had been parked for at least one day, was a threat to their safety. I like the quick response of the community and the police.

Robert Half Legal