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Suspicious package that shut Calgary courthouse had no explosive, police say

The downtown area around a Calgary courthouse was shut down Wednesday for six hours because of a suspicious package.

CHRIS BOLIN/The Globe and Mail

Calgary police say a package that shut down the courts and a large part of the downtown area had all the elements of an improvised explosive device – except the part that would cause an explosion.

The downtown area around the courthouse was shut down Wednesday for six hours and all court proceedings and trials were cancelled for the day.

Some staff were sent home early.

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The suspicious package was spotted during a security check and the person with it was taken into custody.

Police spokesman Kevin Brookwell said Thursday that the package, which was in a wallet, had wires, a battery, a solid substance similar to modelling clay – but no explosive material.

He says there were communications issues with the suspect and a translator was brought in, but they didn't get much co-operation other than a denial that the device was his.

"The item contained all the components necessary for a improvised explosive device. They saw the power source from the battery, they saw the wires and they could also determine this substance," Brookwell said.

He said police made the right call in shutting down the area.

"In this world, it's not 'run up, grab the bag, shake it and if it doesn't go off we're good to go.' There's a of things that have to happen and a lot of processes and protocols and safety measures that have to be taken."

The person taken into custody was released. Police say the investigation is continuing.

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