Suspicious backpack at Portland courthouse not a threat

Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 3:50 p.m.
A Portland policeman carries a knapsack, in his left hand, found in the bushes at the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of the knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP
A Portland policeman carries a knapsack, in his left hand, found in the bushes at the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of the knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
An investigator looks through a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP
An investigator looks through a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A member of the Portland Police bomb squad carries a camera as he prepares to check a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP
A member of the Portland Police bomb squad carries a camera as he prepares to check a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A member of the Portland Police bomb squad carries a camera as he prepares to check a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP
A member of the Portland Police bomb squad carries a camera as he prepares to check a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before the contents of a knapsack were determined harmless. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Heath Gorham, a member of the Portland Police bomb squad, opens the shield of his helmet after a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse was determined to be harmless, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP
Heath Gorham, a member of the Portland Police bomb squad, opens the shield of his helmet after a knapsack found in the bushes next to the entrance to the federal courthouse was determined to be harmless, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

PORTLAND, Maine — Police Chief James Craig says the suspicious item that forced the evacuation of the federal courthouse was a knapsack containing clothes and a cell phone charger.

The police bomb squad used a bomb-sniffing dog and a robot to probe the item before its contents were determined and court workers were allowed to return to work around 2 p.m.

Craig says the knapsack likely belonged to someone who’s homeless and hid it in the bushes.

The incident coincided with a suspicious package being discovered in the United Kingdom that prompted searches of three UPS planes and a truck in the U.S. No explosives were reported to have been found.

U.S. Marshal Noel March says the backpack was discovered during a routine security sweep. Court security make sweeps around the building several times a day.

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