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White Powder in 'Anthrax' Letter Causes Scare at Brooklyn Courthouse

By  Alan Neuhauser and Ben Fractenberg | May 7, 2013 5:23pm | Updated on May 7, 2013 9:12pm

 A worker in the Brooklyn Federal Court Clerk's Office discovered a letter laced with white powder, setting off an anthrax Tuesday afternoon, May 7, 2013, authorities and sources say.
Police Investigate Suspicious White Powder at Courthouse
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Cops and firefighters swarmed the U.S. District Courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn and quarantined the clerk's office after "suspicious white powder" was found in a letter labeled "Anthrax" Tuesday afternoon, but the powder was ultimately found to be harmless, authorities and sources said.

The incident occurred just before 4 p.m., when a member of the court's clerk's office opened the envelope containing the letter and powder, a source there said.

"He opened it up and let us know he had a problem," the worker told DNAinfo New York, asking not to be identified. "The page that was open said 'Anthrax' in big black letters."

Some of the powder ended up on the employee who opened the letter, the source added.

Emergency responders rushed to the building and shut down the clerk's office, forcing the employee who had come in contact with the note to stay inside while others left, the source said.

Officials did not order a building-wide evacuation, authorities and court workers said.

"We are investigating a suspicious white powder there," a police source said.

By Tuesday evening, authorities had determined that the powder was "non-toxic," another police source said. No one was hospitalized, the FDNY said.

A court official directed questions to the building's U.S. Marshals Office, which did not immediately return a message seeking comment.