LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe County Courthouse is back in session after it was evacuated due to a bomb threat this morning. No explosives were found.
Around 8:30 Thursday morning, someone called the clerk's office and told them where the bombs would be and what time they would go off. It was the specific details in the threat that made courthouse security decide to evacuate.
Everyone left the building for about an hour while bomb dogs sniffed the area and law enforcement searched for explosives.
All of the surrounding streets were closed off during the search. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's office is still trying to find out who made the call.
It's a serious offense considering it delayed several important cases such as the Wesley Hampton murder sentence. Our reporter, along with other courthouse employees, were told to wait across the street.
— Anna Darling (@AnnaDarlingTV) April 11, 2019
Christopher Kessler owns Stall and Kessler's jewelry store right across the street from the Tippecanoe County Courthouse.
"It's always exciting downtown," said Kessler.
But never quite this exciting.
"I saw some people evacuate and I knew something was going on when I actually saw a judge walking out swiftly across the street," said Kessler. "And then just saw dogs go around, different officers blocked off the block and stopped traffic."
"It's a rare occurrence," said Captain Terry Ruley.
He said the Tippecanoe County Courthouse wasn't the only place law enforcement searched. Bomb dogs also sniffed the federal building, just in case the person making the threat wasn't sure which courthouse they were calling.
"Fortunately, we did not discover any of those devices," said Ruley.
However, they're still looking into who did this and why.
"Making a threat even though there is not a device in place is still a felony and you know it's very serious," said Ruley.
"A lot of things that were interrupted," added Kessler.
The hour-long closure could have sent away Kessler's potential customers but he's thankful law enforcement erred on the side of caution.
"All of the authorities seemed to know what they were doing and had everything well under control," said Kessler. "So, that gave me a lot of comfort."
Twenty years ago, someone attempted to bomb the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. That person was never found.