Probe Underway Into "Suspicious" Briefcase

Meridian police, firefighters and homeland security officials responded to the discovery of a mysterious briefcase Tuesday morning in downtown Meridian.

The briefcase was found just before 8:00 a.m. as employees were reporting to work at Trustmark National Bank at 700 23rd Avenue.

Officials say they were especially concerned because of two threatening calls made to the bank recently.

"One of our tellers had received a call over the weekend," said bank president Billy Estes. "So, we don't know if there was any connection to that or not. We were just being cautious."

Nothing was found on or inside the briefcase. During the search a portion of the street in front of the bank was closed. Although nothing was found, emergency responders say this was not an overreaction.

"Since 9/11, the work has changed and we take every threat serious," said Meridian's homeland security director, Bunky Partridge.

Authorities are now searching for the owner of the briefcase and for the person or persons responsible for the threatening calls.

Making threatening calls is a serious matter which can lead to jail time. A first offense for this can result in up to six months in a jail, a second offense, one year in jail, and for a third offense, up to two years behind bars.