Employees wait out courthouse threat before being sent home

Business at the Lycoming County Courthouse ground to a halt and the five-story building at 48 W. Third St. was evacuated after a bomb threat was received at the courthouse about 12:10 p.m. Friday.

No bomb was found after sheriff deputies, state troopers and other law enforcement personnel conducted a room-by-room search, which was completed just after 5 p.m., according to Chief County Det. William Weber.

It was estimated that between 200 and 300 county employees and visitors were in the building when the evacuation order was given, according Marci Hessert, administrative manager for the Lycoming County Commissioners.

County employees made their way to a pre-assigned location, a heated building, where they waited until early afternoon when they were told to go home because the county had decided to suspend all business for the remainder of the day.

Scores of visitors arriving at the courthouse for business were turned away all afternoon by sheriff deputies and courthouse security officers, who walked the perimeter and kept pedestrians away from the building.

Assisting with the search of the building were several police dogs trained at detecting explosive material, Weber said.

Both Pine Street and Court Street were closed to traffic between West Third Street and West Fourth Street as a precautionary measure, authorities said.

Weber said the evacuation order was given shortly after the bomb threat was received by the courthouse receptionist. He declined to disclose the specific words the caller used or if it was male or female’s voice that was heard.

“Sheriff deputies and county detectives are pursuing all leads,” he said.

Anyone who has information on who made the call is asked to call 911 or the county District Attorney’s Office at 570-327-2456. All information will be kept confidential, Weber said.