SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – Bomb threats to Jewish community centers in San Rafael and Foster City were among many made across the country Wednesday, according to an FBI spokesman.
Marin County sheriff’s officials did not locate a suspicious device at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael after it was evacuated Wednesday morning because of the threat.
The search ended around 11:30 a.m. but the investigation of the 8:45 a.m. threat continues, sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman said.
Occupants and approximately 200 students from the Brandeis Marin Jewish Day School at the Jewish Community Center located at 200 N. San Pedro Road were taken to the Venetia Valley School at 177 N. San Pedro Road after the threat, Pittman said.
Surrounding schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution, he said.
The non-profit JCC has classes for adults, parents, pre-school children and toddlers, swimming pools, a fitness center and performing arts center.
The Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City also received a threat at the same time, as did over two dozen Jewish community centers across the country.
After the Foster City threat, police personnel arrived at the school and secured the premises, restricting pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the school and ensuring all children and staff members were safely evacuated from the building.
School staff immediately sent an email message to parents indicating that, due to the developing situation, children should be picked up at an alternate nearby location.
In order to ensure complete safety and thoroughness in the investigation, Foster City police requested the assistance of the San Mateo County Bomb Squad and their specially trained K9 and bomb technician, who responded to the school building to complete an exhaustive search of the grounds.
Nothing suspicious was found during the search, and the building was secured at about 11:30 a.m. School staff was allowed back into the building once it was secured.
School was cancelled at both Bay Area schools for the day.
“The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection to threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country,” FBI spokesman Prentice Danner in San Francisco said.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” Danner said.
According to a spokesperson for the JCC Association of North America, a wave of bomb threats Wednesday morning caused 28 Jewish community centers in 17 states to quickly engage in security protocols to ensure the safety of their participants and facilities.
The calls are similar to those received by JCCs last week when 16 centers in nine states received fake bomb threats, causing many evacuations and a disruption to normal operations, according to Samantha Kupferman with West End Strategy, a strategic communications company that works with the JCC Association of North America.
Last week, several JCC’s along the East Coast were also targeted with bomb threats, including centers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
A JCC in Miami Beach, Florida received bomb threats two times in as many weeks.
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