U police investigate unrelated false bomb threats

by Rocky Thompson

University police responded to an anonymous bomb threat Thursday afternoon at Como Student Community Cooperative at 1024 27th Ave. S.E.

It was the second bomb threat call in two weeks, University police said. Police said they don’t think the calls are related.

University Police Capt. Steve Johnson said a 911 operator forwarded Thursday’s call to police. Police then evacuated the building for approximately 30 minutes while officers and bomb-sniffing dogs searched for explosives.

Police received the first false bomb threat warning of a bomb in Frontier Hall on Feb. 20.

After the police dispatcher received information, police searched the residence hall from 3:42 a.m. to 6:15 a.m.

Johnson said bomb threats at the University are uncommon and police take them seriously.

“It’s very upsetting when people are concerned about terrorism. People feel more threatened after 9/11 with these threats,” he said.

Making a bomb threat is a felony, and University police are investigating both cases.

Johnson said he is unable to give more information because it might interfere with the ongoing investigation.

In other police news:

University Environmental Health and Safety personnel responded with University police to a call Friday after a small amount of dangerous chemicals was spilled at the Cancer Center Research Building.

Johnson said 500 grams of a powdered form of acrylamide, a known carcinogen, were spilled on the floor.

Johnson said he didn’t know what happened, but the chemical spill was isolated and no one was injured.

Police evacuated the building for two hours while University Environmental Health and Safety personnel ensured it was secure.

Officers found a 41-year-old man swinging a steel sign stand into a semaphore and a trash can at the intersection of Ontario Street and Washington Avenue Southeast just before midnight Friday, according to the police report. A semaphore is an apparatus used for visual signaling.

According to the police report, officers watched as the man screamed and swung the stand in the air on Washington Avenue.

Police took him into custody and cited him with disorderly conduct before releasing him at his bus stop.

University Police Officer David St. Cyr cited two people for illegal use of handicapped permits this week.

One individual used his deceased mother’s permit to park in a posted handicapped space.

Another University staff member was found using a disability permit that belonged to her father.

The staff member was not disabled and worked close to where she had parked, near Frasier Hall, according to the police report.

St. Cyr questioned the staff member about the use of the permit, and she said she knew it was wrong, according to the report.

St. Cyr issued both individuals misdemeanor citations for illegal use of handicapped permits. If they plead guilty, both could pay more than $700 in fines.

Rocky Thompson covers police and crime and welcomes comments at [email protected]