Bomb threats shut down courts in Tri-Cities area

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A bomb scare disrupted business at several area courthouses. Petersburg and Prince George County court buildings were evacuated for hours.

No bombs were ever found. Now, police are trying to figure out who placed the prank call.

It started around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning when somebody called Petersburg Police and said there was a bomb at the courthouses in Petersburg and Prince George County.

The bogus bomb threat triggered a massive response and forced the closure of the courthouse in Prince George.

Archard Tyler showed up to pay a ticket but was turned away.

"He told me everything was closed -- to come back this afternoon -- but right now they're not letting anyone in," Tyler said.

More than 150 people were evacuated. The K-9 explosive detection teams searched the inside and outside the building.

Two of the bomb sniffing dogs picked up on a "suspicious smell" inside the courthouse.

"We don't know what it was exactly -- where the dogs alerted. There was nothing found in that area.  It was checked by the bomb team with state police," said Prince George Sheriff, Bucky Allin.

It was a similar story in Petersburg. Petersburg General District Court and the Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court were all evacuated for hours after a bomb threat.

Those courts got the all clear and were back open for business by noon. Now, the search is on to find out who phoned in the fake bomb threat.

"We immediately started the investigation and based on the information if we're able to locate the individual charges will be filed," said Prince George Detective, Lt. Paul Burroughs.

In Prince George,  the all clear came down around 2 p.m.. -- five hours after the bomb threat.

"Courts been canceled for the day that will be rescheduled.  Tomorrow it'll be business as usual," Allin said.

If you have information on who called in the bomb threat  you're asked to contact Petersburg or Prince George Police.

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