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Suspicious package at hospital deemed harmless
Building was evacuated for 2.5 hours
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A suspicious package found Monday afternoon at Northeast Georgia Medical Center proved to be harmless.

Hospital security reported the package to police just after 1 p.m. It was discovered in a basement closet of the Ocie Rich Pope Educational Building. The building is located on the side of the hospital campus closest to Brenau University and contains classrooms but no patients.

Public Information Officer Joe Britte of the Gainesville Police Department said the building was evacuated for about 2.5 hours.

Three agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Bomb Disposal Unit arrived at the scene just before 2:30 p.m. and discovered the package contained bricks wrapped in plastic, said John Bankhead, GBI public information officer.

"They didn't feel it was anything like a hoax device. Somebody just brought three bricks in a plastic bag and left it there," Bankhead said.

Medical center spokeswoman Cathy Bowers said maintenance workers were cleaning out the closet when they discovered the opaque bag under a water heater.

"It was not something that should have been in an area where it was found," Bowers said.

She said the bag was probably placed there by a former employee to be used as a door stop.

"These days you can't just pick anything up," Bowers said.

Although the package turned out to be harmless, authorities said the proper precautions were taken.

"Better safe than sorry," Bankhead said.

Staff writer Savannah King contributed to this report.


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