Paramus NJ Police Investigate Bomb Threat at Garden State Plaza, Turns Out to be “Swatting” Incident
Police recently had to respond to a “swatting” incident, or false bomb threat, at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey.
According to law enforcement, Paramus police received a call about a bomb threat around 6:15 p.m.
A subsequent search of the Paramus NJ mall revealed that there was, in fact, no bomb anywhere in the shopping center. Paramus police conducted an exhaustive search of the site and determined that there was nothing suspicious inside the mall.
The Paramus mall was shut down for nearly three hours while police investigated the bomb threat.
Just a half-hour prior to the Garden State Plaza mall bomb threat, the Lawrence Police Department received a call about a similar bomb threat at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence, New Jersey.
According to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, that bomb threat in Lawrence also proved to be a swatting attempt. Lawrence police enlisted the help of a K-9 unit to look for a bomb in the Quaker Bridge Mall but determined that there was no real threat at all.
These two reported threats are just the most recent swatting incidents in New Jersey. According to authorities, several police departments throughout the state have been sent on wild goose chases in recent days in response to false reports of explosives or other dangers
Many of these incidents involve threats to schools and businesses. The targeted areas are public places because the offenders want to provoke the largest possible police response. The criminal acts are called “swatting” incidents because they often involve heavily armed tactical teams, also known as SWAT teams. In one recent swatting incident, a threat against a school in Ridgewood NJ turned out to be false. George Washington Middle School was locked down for several hours while local police took emergency response measures
Another recent swatting incident involved a police response to a fake report of armed men storming University Medical Center in Princeton, New Jersey.
If the culprits in any of these cases are eventually identified and apprehended, they could be subject to significant criminal charges for terroristic threats. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, a person who attempts to terrorize another individual or cause evacuation of a building can be charged with a third degree felony and face 3-5 years in New Jersey State Prison upon conviction.
For further information, check out the NJ.com article entitled “Fake Bomb Threats Reported at Malls in Lawrence, Paramus.”