Court Security

No Charges Over Cigarette Lighter 'Pistol' That Led to Fla. Courthouse Evacuation


A cigarette lighter designed to look like a pistol created a major incident at a Florida courthouse earlier this month after a woman forgot it was in her bag and a distracted security screener writing down a phone number for an auto parts store saw it only as it was disappearing from the screen of an X-ray machine.

The George E. Edgecomb Courthouse was evacuated—hours later—and security issues raised by the Aug. 5 incident are still being evaluated. But officials announced today that the woman who brought it into the downtown Tampa facility won’t be charged, because she didn’t have any criminal intent, the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune report.

Potential disciplinary action for the screener and others hasn’t yet been determined, according to media reports.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “‘Pistol’ in Fla. Courthouse Results in Evacuation—More than 3 Hours Later”

ABC Action News: “Sheriff’s office blasts courthouse security over ‘gun’ snafu”

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