White Powder Inside Letter Scares Courthouse

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

January 11, 2006

It was a scary day at the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse when a threatening letter and suspicious package were delivered.

Officials are not exactly sure what was inside the envelope, but they did say it was a white powdery substance along with a written letter.

It all happened around 2:00 p.m. when the head of security was notified of an envelope containing a white powdery substance. The head of security immediately closed off the bottom floor, and notified the proper people.

Those people quarantined everyone on that specific floor, but others throughout the courthouse were working as normal. Officials from the Charlottesville Fire, Police, and Sheriff's departments converged on the scene to assess the situation as the city's hazardous materials team made entry to test the powder.

"People were concerned in the offices [about] what they saw going on outside, so they were briefed on what to expect when the two personnel on our entry team would find," said a Battalion Chief with the Charlottesville Fire Department.

The situation at the courthouse directly affected only three people including a police officer who was first on the scene, and held the package. The police officer, along with all others quarantined earlier Wednesday evening, have been released.

The samples taken from the courthouse will be shipped to the Department of Emergency Management in Richmond for testing.

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