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Bomb threat at Mercer Courthouse results in an increase in security



Published: Wed, February 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



MERCER, Pa. -- Employees and visitors to the Mercer County Courthouse today will have to enter through the south entrance and pass through a security checkpoint, Sheriff William Romine said Tuesday.

The extra security measures are the result of Tuesday's courthouse evacuation because of a bomb threat.

A search of the courthouse with bomb-sniffing dogs brought in by Conneaut Lake and Erie police departments turned up nothing.

About 200 employees and members of the public were evacuated and the courthouse closed for the rest of the day after the threat was called about 8:30 a.m. to the office of District Attorney James Epstein.

Officials declined to give details of the call because of the ongoing investigation.

Sheriff William Romine said, after a visual search of the courthouse, he asked for help from Pennsylvania State Police and Mercer Borough, as well as the departments that provided the dogs.

Epstein said that if apprehended, whoever called in the threat would be charged with threatening to employ weapons of mass destruction, a third-degree felony, and could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.




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