Bomb scare hits county building |

Bomb scare hits county building

John HartThe bag that caused a bomb scare is checked by Sgt. Bill Evans of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

An abandoned briefcase was all it took Thursday to see the reaction post-Sept. 11 fears still generate.

About 500 Nevada County workers were kept outside Rood Administrative Center for more than two hours before the Placer County Explosives Ordnance Disposal Team realized the briefcase contained just papers.

A similar response might not have occurred a year ago, before unidentified packages and suspect mail prompted all-out responses.

“Most likely, somebody would have looked at (the briefcase) and said, ‘Geez,’ and not worried about the contents,” Sheriff’s Lt. Lee Osborne said.

He called the incident an innocent mistake by a Grass Valley woman who left the briefcase in the first-floor office that houses the county Assessor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Department of Environmental Health Services and other entities.

“Just one of them lapses of memory,” Osborne said.

Some employees in the office start work at 7 a.m., and the briefcase was discovered about 25 minutes later. Workers in the building were evacuated, and those arriving were kept out.

They returned about 10:10 a.m., after the bomb squad examined the briefcase with a portable X-ray machine before opening it at the scene.

“Had they seen anything (unusual) in the X-ray, they probably wouldn’t have tried to open it,” Osborne said.

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