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Responders deal with 29 courthouse bomb threats

No arrests have been made and no bombs were found in the statewide hoax

By Adrian Sainz and Kristin M. Hall
The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bomb threats to 29 courthouses across Tennessee forced many to be evacuated Tuesday morning, including the federal building in Memphis, but authorities said no explosives were found.

Tennessee became the fourth state to deal with similar bomb hoaxes. One targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington this month.

Nine threats were reported in West Tennessee counties — including the Memphis federal building — six in Middle Tennessee and 14 in East Tennessee, said Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls.

No arrests have been made in Tennessee and authorities had searched about 14 courthouses by Tuesday afternoon.

Jeremy Heidt, a spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said the threats were made by telephone to court clerk offices. "It's been going on all morning," said Heidt.

The building in Memphis houses the federal court and offices for the Department of Justice, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. It was cleared around 9 a.m. for a couple of hours while authorities checked it.

Police temporarily blocked a trolley line that ran by the federal building in Memphis and brought in a dog to search the building before letting people return around 11 a.m.

According to Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph, a woman called police around 8:30 a.m. and said she had information that someone was going to blow up the county criminal justice center, the federal building and a main U.S. Post Office in the city.

All three locations were searched and nothing was found, she said.

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Associated PressCopyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP reporters Hall and Randall Dickerson contributed to this story from Nashville.




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