Bomb threats called into JCCs, synagogues in CT, across country - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bomb threats called into JCCs, synagogues in CT, across country

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The Jewish Community Center in West Hartford has been evacuated because of a bomb threat on Wednesday morning. (WFSB) The Jewish Community Center in West Hartford has been evacuated because of a bomb threat on Wednesday morning. (WFSB)
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Threatening phone calls were made to Jewish community centers, a Jewish day school and a synagogue in Connecticut, which were similar to ones called into others across the country.

The live caller stated that there was a bomb in each of the buildings.

The threats were made over the phone at locations in West Hartford and Woodbridge on Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Mandell Jewish Community Center around 9:30 a.m. after police said woman called and stated there was a bomb somewhere in the building.

"To me it's frightening, I'm worried as it is,” Mandell Jewish Community Center member Shelley Schuman said. "I come to a class here every week I go to a lot of events, and I always feel safe but I have to rethink that."

Children inside the West Hartford JCC on Bloomfield Avenue were moved to a different location, according to officials there.

After both the police and fire departments responded and searched the building, people were let back inside the West Hartford location after it was deemed safe by authorities.

The West Hartford Police Department said they are working with departments in other states concerning JCC or synagogue threats in other locations.

"We are working with the FBI. We do have calls into other police departments and we're matching things back and forth to see if they are related,” West Hartford Police Lt. Eric Rocheleau said. “We think they are."

In Woodbridge, the JCC, the Ezra Academy and the B'Nai Jacob Synagogue were also evacuated. The Glastonbury and Stamford JCC locations did not receive any threats, according to police in those areas.

Threats were also made to centers in Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and New York on Wednesday and that doesn't even include the other threatening phone calls placed in recent weeks.

"So we knew of one in Florida, New Jersey,” Rocheleau said. “We had been in contact with them and working on plans and discussing the matters just in case a bomb threat was to happen at West Hartford JCC."

No injuries were reported in any of the cases. Rocheleau said they're now working to trace this phone call and see if they can find a source.

In the meantime, the JCCs in West Hartford and Woodbridge were reopened

"We went straight back to business,” Rocheleau said. “We're not deterred; the programs are running the same as they would any other day so we're still here. We're staying strong."

The West Hartford Police Department said they will be meeting with staff at the JCC to see if they could do something different or better in the event this happens again.

In a statement on Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy said "Hate-filled threats of this nature are alarming, disgusting, and deserve no place in our society.  Our state and our country were built on values of acceptance, compassion, fairness, and respect for people from all backgrounds of life.  I thank our federal, state, and local law enforcement officials for their quick response today to ensure the safety of everyone involved.  Acts of this nature will not be tolerated, and we remain resolved in fostering diverse, resilient communities free from such acts of hate.”

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