Suspicious package left at courthouse deemed harmless

by Wes Mayer


Photo by Jeffrey Leo

After the package left on the courthouse steps was cleared as safe by the GBI robot operator, a GBI bomb technician takes it from the REMOTEC Andros robot’s arm. It turned out to be a box of brochures.

Downtown Newnan was closed off to traffic and pedestrians Wednesday morning after a suspicious package was found outside the historic Coweta County Courthouse – it was later determined to be harmless and containing brochures.

Around 8:20 a.m., authorities were notified of an unidentified brown box, about a foot wide and 8 inches tall, that was found sitting outside the west entrance to the old courthouse, said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. Apparently the courthouse was opened around 7:55 a.m., and the box was not seen at that time, but was noticed a few minutes later.

For safety purposes, authorities with the Newnan Police Department, Newnan Fire Department and Coweta County Sheriff’s Office closed off all traffic around the Court Square and asked everyone in the surrounding buildings to exit the area, said Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows. Traffic was routed east and west around the square from Salbide Avenue to Madison Street.

A special operations bomb disposal unit with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene, and agents arrived about an hour later with their bomb response truck and REMOTEC Andros robot. The robot was deployed and agents remotely navigated it up the courthouse’s west entrance to the package. With the robot, authorities were able to determine the package contained some kind of paperwork, Yeager said.

The GBI agents then approached the package, opened it and discovered it was only filled with pamphlets. Around 10:12 a.m., the package was cleared as safe, and the streets were reopened about 10 minutes later.

The package of pamphlets was apparently meant for one of the courthouse offices, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the sheriff’s office, but it was not carried inside.

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