Crews investigate a suspicious package discovered Thursday afternoon in downtown Decatur.
Photo: Miguel Martinez / For the AJC
Photo: Miguel Martinez / For the AJC

‘Suspicious substance’ that shut down part of Decatur was crushed candy, authorities say

A busy stretch of downtown Decatur was shut down for much of Thursday after a suspicious substance was discovered at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office. 

After nearly six hours of investigation, the mystery powder turned out to be nothing more than crushed candy, authorities said. 

Nearby businesses and offices were evacuated shortly after noon when a suspicious package was located inside the building, Decatur Fire Chief Toni Washington said. 

A busy Decatur street was shut down for more than three hours as authorities investigated a package found at the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Decatur police said an employee picked up a stack of mail and noticed a white powdery substance fall out of an envelope.

“After noticing the unknown substance, she removed the envelopes from her desk, placed them in a plastic bag and emergency personnel were called,” Decatur police spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Ross said. 

Traffic on Church Street was shut down between East Trinity Place and Sycamore Street for most of the day as DeKalb’s bomb unit and hazardous materials team responded to the scene in boots and large rubber suits.


The area reopened shortly before 6 p.m. once officials determined the package was not an explosive device. 

“Further investigation revealed loose candy had been mailed and was crushed during transit, resulting in the substance observed spilling from the mail,” Ross said. 

Workers from nearby businesses wait to get back to work Thursday afternoon after a suspicious package was discovered in downtown Decatur.
Photo: Miguel Martinez / For the AJC

After standing outside for hours in the cold, employees from nearby businesses and restaurants that were evacuated during the investigation were allowed to return to work, authorities said. 

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