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Calls Lead to Evacuation of Calif. Courts

November 17, 2004

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Authorities evacuated three San Diego courthouses Tuesday after law enforcement officials in three states were told that explosives had been planted in the buildings. Searches found no explosives.

The threats from an anonymous caller or callers were made to authorities in Maine, Rhode Island and Washington state and then relayed to police in San Diego, said Chris Saunders, a spokesman for the San Diego County Sheriff’s office.

Authorities evacuated the San Diego County Superior Court branch, north of downtown, shortly after a threat was relayed around 9:30 a.m. from authorities in Maine, Saunders said.

An hour later, a threat relayed by authorities in Washington state led sheriff’s officials to evacuate the county’s two main courthouses, located next to each other in downtown San Diego.

Hundreds of people were led away from the courthouse for an hour or two, and light-rail and vehicular traffic in the area were temporarily disrupted.

A third telephone call was passed along from Newport, R.I. The information was confusing, but it appeared to be related to the second phone call, Saunders said.

The sheriff’s department was investigating.

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