Photo: Denise Civiletti

Update 1 p.m.: A backpack found on the door of the county court building early this morning prompted the evacuation of the courthouse and a lockout that lasted most of the morning.

Investigators determined that there was no explosive device in the backpack, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon.

The backpack had “some kind of religious writing on it,” the sheriff’s spokesperson, Paul Spinella said, but he did not yet have specific information.

An unknown male left the backpack at the entrance, he said. The man was located and taken into custody, according to Spinella. There is no word yet on any charges, he said. More information will follow, he said.

Employees and members of the public were allowed back into court building at about 11 a.m., according to county workers, who said they were not provided with information about the investigation.

Original story:

The Suffolk County Criminal Court complex in Riverside has been evacuated pending an investigation into a report of a suspicious package left in the building.

According to employees at the scene, reports of a suspicious package forced evacuation of the Arthur M. Cromarty Court Complex at the county center earlier this morning. People who arrived for work afterward were denied entry to the building.

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office units were seen at the scene securing a perimeter outside the building, which houses courtrooms, judges’ chambers, jury rooms and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Civilians were kept a distance away from the building and dispersed throughout the county center’s parking lots.

Southampton Town Police did not return a reporter’s call seeking more information.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for more updated information.

Denise Civiletti contributed reporting.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]