Local law enforcement began evacuating the Moffat County Courthouse at about 1 p.m. today after receiving word of what Sheriff Tim Jantz called a "suspicious package."
Jantz said courthouse security deputies under his command first notified law enforcement about 12:30 p.m.
The security officers reported a red, dirt-covered lunchbox cooler had been placed roughly four feet from the southwestern entrance to the building at about 10 a.m., and had not been moved since.
After receiving notice, Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Craig Police Department officials taped off the western side of the building.
Shortly thereafter, following a conversation between Jantz and Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray, the entire courthouse was formally evacuated.
"There were some people kind of nervous, and Tim's recommendation was to evacuate the whole thing, and I couldn't see any reason not to," Gray said while sitting in a car in the courthouse's back parking lot with Commissioner Audrey Danner and Jeff Comstock, county natural resources director.
No one inside claimed to own the box or know where it came from, Jantz said.
Local law enforcement notified the Grand Junction Police Department of the situation, which agreed to send its bomb squad for further assistance.
As of 2 p.m., Jantz said his deputies and Craig police officers would hold a perimeter around the cooler and wait for the Grand Junction bomb squad's arrival.
He added that is was necessary to take every precaution.
"In this day and age, yes sir, it is," the sheriff said. "As many as may fault us for going to extremes : I don't think this is excessive in any way, shape or form."
Law enforcement has received no specific threats regarding the package.
For more on this story, see Tuesday's Daily Press or visit www.craigdailypress.com.