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Bomb Hoax Closes Courts

Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland

Three of Maine's busiest courts were closed today (January 4, 2023) for a time because of what was believed to be a bomb threat hoax.

Portland's Cumberland County Courthouse, and Augusta's Capital Judicial Center were all evacuated and nearby roads closed as a result of the threat, which came in an email. Biddeford's York Judicial Center was also closed temporarily as a precaution.

Reporting suggests that at least in Portland, a dog search was conducted but nothing was found. National outlets have said there has been a wave of such threats across the country. The threat that affected courts is being linked to a group that sent an email about explosives in the Maine State House the day before.

Maine Judicial Branch said employees received an email containing a general statement that bombs had been planted in or around courthouses in the state. No specific location was given.

The Judicial Branch issued a statement that said: "Although initial indications pointed to a hoax, the Judicial Branch took the necessary precautions, depending on the location, to ensure that the public was not in danger. The York Judicial Center was closed for the day and searched. The Cumberland County Courthouse was evacuated and searched. The Capital Judicial Center closed to the public while a search commenced. Both the Cumberland County Courthouse and the Capital Judicial Center have reopened. The York Judicial Center will reopen tomorrow, January 5. All other courthouses were checked for security risks or anything that seemed out of the ordinary. No explosives were found in any courthouse location."

The statement went on: "Should we experience another similar threat, we will take all precautions necessary to protect public safety. We will also continue to work with the Maine State Police and other law enforcement agencies to catch the perpetrators responsible for the threats."


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