Police recently responded to a reported “swatting” incident, or fake bomb threat, at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, NJ.
According to authorities, Paramus New Jersey police got a call about a bomb threat at the shopping center around 6:15 p.m.
Police rushed to the Paramus NJ mall and conducted a search. However, the search turned up no threat whatsoever. After an exhaustive search of the mall and surrounding area, it was determined that there was nothing suspicious at the mall.
While law enforcement investigated the bomb threat, the Garden State Plaza mall was shut down for approximately three hours.
Just one half-hour before police received the call about the Garden State Plaza mall bomb threat, the Lawrence Police Department got a call about a similar bomb threat at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence, NJ.
According to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the bomb threat in Lawrence New Jersey was also a swatting incident. Lawrence police used a K-9 unit to search for a bomb in the Quaker Bridge Mall. After a lengthy search, police determined that there was no actual threat.
The two reported bomb threats are just the latest swatting incidents in New Jersey. According to officials, a number of police departments throughout the state have been sent to investigate public places after receiving fake threats of explosives and other dangers in recent days.
Many of these incidents have alarmed police because they involved threats to schools and businesses. Swatting attempts typically target public areas because the offenders want to provoke a large police response. The criminal acts are referred to as “swatting” incidents because they usually result in a response by heavily armed tactical teams, also known as SWAT teams.
One of the recent swatting incidents involved a frightening threat against a middle school in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Thankfully, the threat against George Washington Middle School turned out to be false. Nonetheless, parents and students were alarmed by the threat. Additionally, the school had to be locked down for several hours while local police investigated.
Another recent swatting incident resulted in police investigating a report of armed men storming University Medical Center in Princeton, NJ.
If the offenders in any of these cases are eventually identified and captured, they could face serious criminal charges for terroristic threats. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, anyone who attempts to terrorize another person or cause evacuation of a building can be charged with a third degree criminal offense and be sentenced to 3-5 years in NJ State Prison upon conviction.
For more information, go to the NJ.com article entitled “Fake Bomb Threats Reported at Malls in Lawrence, Paramus.”