All-clear given after Davie JCC receives bomb threat

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities gave the all-clear at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie, Tuesday, after the school received a second bomb threat in only 10 days.

According to Davie Police, the all-clear was given just before noon, due to a joint effort by Davie Police, Fort Lauderdale Police, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, police K-9 units and bomb detection K-9s.

The investigation concluded that the bomb threat, which was phoned in by a live person at around 10 a.m., was another hoax. “It is consistent with the calls that they’ve received in the past, and it only indicated they there was an explosive device somewhere on campus and that it would go off sometime during the day,” said Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle.

The threat caused chaos for students and faculty just as the school day was starting. “These are kids, and they’re being targeted,” said parent Maggie Fischer. “I don’t know if it’s harassment or hatred.”

Davie Police responded quickly to the threat, closing off all entrances and exits to the 40-acre campus.

All of the students and personnel were evacuated from the buildings and directed into the gymnasium.

Concerned parents arrived to the scene shortly after. They hope these threats will finally stop.

“I’m hoping that it’s another prank, but it’s not something to joke about,” said parent Paul Fischer. “It’s not something that they can take lightly. It has to be taken seriously, and we have to trust our law enforcement that they will find out who’s behind this.”

“My concern is this pattern of behavior,” said Maggie Fischer.

By 10:40 a.m., reports confirmed that JCCs in DeWitt, N.Y., Milwaukee, Wis. and Rochester, N.Y. had received bomb threats, as well. In Rochester, 75 people were evacuated, and in Wisconsin, investigators said the threat came in the form of an email.

“I am worried, because we’re talking about kids, and this is not right,” said Dr. Sigal Perl, another parent.

“This is something that should worry everybody,” said parent Martha Birmaher.

Soon after the threat was made, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio and the rest of the Senate sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security calling on the FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take action. The letter read in part, “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating, and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed the bomb threats during a news conference, Tuesday afternoon. “According to some reports, there have been over 100 bomb threats phoned in to Jewish institutions since the start of this year alone,” he said. “As the president said at the beginning of his joint address, ‘We are country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its forms. We denounce these latest anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms.'”

“There seems to be a rise in anti-Semitism, a rise in hatred against people [because of] color, sexuality,” said Fischer. “I don’t know if it’s political.”

This is the second time the David Posnack JCC has been evacuated due to a hoax bomb threat this year. Officials said the previous one was called in on Feb. 27.

Even though the threat turned out to be hoax, parents at the Davie JCC remain uneasy. “It doesn’t really matter if it’s credible or not. There are children in there,” said Birmaher.

FBI agents were at the Davie campus on Tuesday to investigate both threats.

If you have any information on these bomb threats, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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