Bomb scare snarls U.S. courthouse traffic

February 07, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Several men of Middle Eastern descent were released from police custody without charges last night after a duffel bag found in their van parked outside Baltimore's federal courthouse on West Lombard Street was destroyed by the city police bomb squad.

After detonating the contents, police said it appeared that no explosives were in the bag.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. when nine men were seen entering the building, while one man remained outside on his knees, praying, police said.

The unusual scene prompted calls to police, who surrounded the building and detoured traffic that snarled late rush-hour traffic.

All 10 men were taken to the Central District police station, but released after questioning. Police said they had gone to the courthouse to register, but declined to say for what.

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