CARSON CITY — An “all clear” message was given about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, two and a half hours after 100 people were evacuated from the state Supreme Court building.
An employee in the clerk’s office had opened a letter containing a white substance and a note saying “This is anthrax.”
But after the substance was tested, authorities deemed it a hoax and released the employee, who had been quarantined, Carson City Fire Chief Staci Giomi said.
Giomi said his department “has to spend a lot of time and resources on these incidents” because they don’t know if they will be hoaxes. He added they have had to investigate numerous similar incidents, including in the Legislature.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Gibbons said he had received a call from the court’s security staff about the letter and immediately sent all employees home about 1 p.m..
Gibbons said he and three other justices were in the building at the time. He added this was the first incident of this kind in the Supreme Court since he became a justice in 2003.
Two years ago the state Department of Education office, a block from the Supreme Court, was closed in a similar mail incident that proved to be a hoax. It took about 12 hours before a Reno laboratory tested the substance and determined it was safe.
Carson City Detective Doug Speegle said the letter was not addressed to any particular justice.
Gibbons said employees must return to work Friday at their regular times. Investigators think the substance was talcum powder, he said.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 775-687-3901 or on Twitter at @edisonvogel.