Suspicious backpack at Portland courthouse not a threat

Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 3:50 p.m.

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.

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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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