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Library evacuated as sheriff's deputies inspect briefcase

The Jimmie Keel Regional Library was evacuated Wednesday for nearly two hours while sheriff's deputies investigated a briefcase left in a reading room.

A story time program was halted and at least 50 patrons were asked to leave the building about 10:30 a.m. after no one responded to an announcement to claim a briefcase that had been abandoned for about an hour, said Eloise Hurst, branch supervisor.

The owner of the briefcase returned to the library around noon after realizing it had been left behind. That's when authorities allowed the building to be reopened.

"It wasn't just a standard briefcase," Hurst said. "It was a good 8 inches thick. That's what made me suspicious."

Hurst, who said she could not remember the library being evacuated for a similar incident, said they are taking special precautions due to terrorist alerts.