Anthrax Scare Closes Part of Bay County Courthouse

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Normally, the Traffic Department at the Bay County Courthouse is busy with people paying tickets, but Tuesday morning it was eerily quiet. The only people in the office were part of a HAZMAT team.

The team was called in after a courthouse employee opened an envelope and found a white powder inside.

"There's a certain level of precaution we have to take at a scene like this. We don't have any reason to believe at this point that the substance was harmful," said Marc Bowen of the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.

People in the Traffic Department were sent to a containment area and the air conditioning was turned off to the traffic and misdemeanor departments while the testing was being done.

Other courthouse employees seemed to take it in stride and went on with business as usual, even without A/C. After the testing was done, the matter was turned over to the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

"We have good info both from the field test that we did as well as the human intel that was gathered by law enforcement about where the substance came from."

While investigators aren't commenting on what they think the powder was, sources tell NewsChannel Seven they think it's baby powder. Police think they know who sent the letter and are pursuing criminal charges against the person, which could include something involving terrorism.

The female courthouse worker who opened the letter wasn't seriously hurt. This is the first time in close to three years there was an anthrax scare at a public building in Bay County.