San Antonio Express-News, METRO AND STATE NEWS; Pg. 2B
BYLINE: Guillermo X. Garcia, STAFF
San Antonio, TX
A bomb scare at the city magistrate's office triggered some anxious moments as dozens of manacled inmates were temporarily evacuated from the building Wednesday evening.
The incident occurred hours after a disgruntled state prison inmate apparently mailed a white powdered substance that proved to be nontoxic to the federal courthouse Wednesday morning, triggering an evacuation of that facility.
Police said they were unsure if the incidents were connected.
During the 20-minute incident at the magistrate's office shortly before 7 p.m., about 50 inmates were removed from holding cells and escorted outside to a chain-link fence enclosure as bomb disposal officers entered the building.
A host of law enforcement officers surrounded the inmates, most of whom were at the facility in the 400 block of South Frio to have their bail set.
Besides those already in custody, a handful of prisoners being brought to the facility were kept inside police cruisers in the secured parking lot while the bomb squad investigated. They were quickly hustled into the rear of the building after the all-clear, said police Sgt. Mark Hubbard.
San Antonio police bomb disposal officers isolated the device, which one supervisor described as man-made, about 6 inches by 2 inches, shaped like a cylinder with wires attached at the top.
The device was inside suspected stolen equipment in the police property room in the magistrate's offices, Hubbard said.
Bomb disposal experts were unsure what the device was, he said.
"They will take it apart or detonate the device, depending on what they think it may be," Hubbard said.
He said the device was found inside one of several boxes of electronics that had been seized by police earlier in the day when they arrested two burglary suspects.
"There was a lot of equipment inside the impounded vehicle," Hubbard said. "Once police got the boxes unloaded and were going through the contents, they came upon this suspicious device."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"