SPPD did not find any bombs or dangerous devices at Highland Park Jewish Community Center. Squads clearing scene now, center is re-opening.
— St. Paul Police PIO (@sppdPIO) February 20, 2017
In an email to members, CEO Michael Waldman wrote: “This morning, the St. Paul JCC received a bomb threat. Authorities were immediately notified and we have evacuated the building. All members and staff are safely accounted for. At this time, no one is allowed in the building. We will keep you posted with updated information.”
The phoned-in threat comes just over a month after the Sabes JCC in St. Louis Park was forced to evacuate due to a bomb threat. The threat to the St. Paul JCC is one of at least six around the country today. Others evacuated were Houston, Whitefish Bay and Milwaukee, Wisc., Buffalo, N.Y., and Birmingham, Ala.
In a statement from Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas: “The St. Paul JCC was safely evacuated this morning after a bomb threat was received over the phone. Leadership at the St. Paul JCC showed tremendous poise in responding to this incident. JCCs confirmed in four states received similar bomb threats today. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is working in close cooperation with law enforcement and appreciates their quick response to this incident. Please respect law enforcement as they continue to investigate this incident.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, in a statement, said they appreciated the leadership of the JCRC.
“We are relieved that the St. Paul JCC was evacuated safely and nothing was found after a thorough investigation by the authorities,” the statement from executive director Eli Skora and President Steve Brand. “Through our partnership with the JCRC, Federation will continue to focus on the security of our community. We hope that the perpetrators of these abhorrent acts against Jewish Community Centers in the Twin Cities and across the country will be found and brought to justice.”
This is the fourth wave of JCC evacuations due to bomb threats since the start of 2017.