Late Tuesday night, both the Owings Mills and Park Heights JCCs were the targets of yet another wave of bomb threats, this time via emails that also included shooting threats. The threats also affected JCCs in St. Louis, Omaha, Neb., Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., all of which have been the targets of previous threats as well.
Nearly 150 bomb threats have targeted JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions since the beginning of the year, the most recent of which occurred on March 7.
This is the third bomb threat to the Park Heights JCC and the second to Owings Mills.
According to Baltimore County police, the Owings Mills JCC contacted police at approximately 7:45 a.m. regarding a threatening email that came in at 11:47 p.m. Tuesday. “The email stated that someone had placed a bomb on the property and that the person who had placed it would shoot survivors. JCC security searched the area and building themselves, then police arrived and searched the entire property including the nearby wooded area,” said police spokeswoman Natalie Litofsky. K-9 units were brought in as a precautionary measure.
Police and Special Forces from Baltimore City police also responded to the Park Heights JCC. Detective Jeremy Silbert said that the FBI is now the primary agency investigating the threats.
“Our local law enforcement was on-site early this morning and conducted a comprehensive sweep of both facilities,” said a security update Wednesday morning from Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, and JCC board chair Annette Saxon. “We are working very closely with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Secure Community Network, and local law enforcement to put an end to these disturbing threats. At this time we want to remind you that if you see something, say something. This could include a bag left unattended or a person acting suspiciously. Please report your concerns to the nearest JCC staff person or our security personnel.”
Both JCC facilities opened at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Local law enforcement will maintain a significant presence at both for the foreseeable future.
A Message from The Associated and JCC:
JTA contributed to this report.