Local News

Durham Police, Planned Parenthood React to Suspicious Package

Posted August 23, 1999

— The fear from violent attacks on women's clinics all over the country hit downtown Durham Tuesday. Police closed a section of Broad Street after an employee at Planned Parenthood found a suspicious package.

The worker thought it could be a bomb inside a suspicious package delivered on Tuesday. Police did not take any chances, evacuating two blocks of busy Broad Street during lunch hour.

The scare turned out to be a false alarm. A regular supplier had sent a product in a differently wrapped package.

Clinic workers played it safe rather than sorry.

"I think they did exactly the right thing. It was a little different than what we usually see and we're always concerned about our patients and staff so she called theDurham police," says Janet Colm of Planned Parenthood. She says the center did not like being in the center of another potential problem.

"What this health center is providing is preventive health care and that we had to waste time and energy and all the money the city of Durham has put into this is just outrageous," says Janet Colm of Planned Parenthood.

Durham police say they are pleased with how the situation was handled that it is their job to air on the side of caution. Planned parenthood also says its workers did the right thing.

Even though this center does not perform abortions, police say it is not the first time it has seen trouble, having received a threatening letter several months ago.

North Carolina has a recent history of violence at women's clinics.

  • Back in March, a bomb went off at a clinic in Asheville. Fortunately, the clinic was not open and no one was hurt.
  • In September, someone tried to burn down two Fayetteville clinics. A month later, bombs were found at the same buildings.
  • Then there is Eric Rudolph, the North Carolina native wanted for two attacks at women's clinics out of state. Federal agents believe Rudolph is still hiding in the North Carolina mountains.No arrests have been made in the Asheville or Fayetteville attacks.

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