WATERTOWN — Shoppers and store owners returned to the Salmon Run Mall on Friday morning after police found no credible threats resulting from a bomb scare Thursday night.
The Jefferson County sheriff’s office received an alert pertaining to the bomb threat about 7:15 p.m. Deputies and mall staff later evacuated the facility.
After several hours of sweeping the mall, state police K-9 units found no signs of explosives, said Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neil.
“Their search came up negative, so there was no reason to continue to have the mall closed,” she said.
The investigation has been kept open as the sheriff’s office has continued to investigate the threat and try to locate its possible source.
Sheriff O’Neil said a local woman, who she didn’t identify, contacted the sheriff’s office about the threat. The woman claimed that a stranger contacted her through a social media app and said something she interpreted as a threat to bomb the mall.
The stranger didn’t say how, when and why he intended to detonate an explosive at the mall.
“We have her phone and we’re going to try to back track” to find the individual, Sheriff O’Neil said, “(to see) if something was taken out of context or see if it’s a threat worth investigating further.”
LuAnne E. Rowsam, owner of The Reading Room, said mall officials told her to evacuate at 7:56 p.m. through an automated voice message, but she wasn’t provided a reason for leaving.
She learned about the bomb threat hours later from news reports. The mall staff called her about midnight and told her it was safe to re-enter the building.
“(I thought) somebody wanted to go home early. It was a hoax,” she said. “It wasn’t like people were running out of the building or anything.”
Christopher S. Thomas, manager of Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop, said mall security told him to leave about 8 p.m. He didn’t know about the threat until later that night.
“We were just told to close our stores and get out,” he said.
State police, the town fire department, city police and the county Office of Fire and Emergency Management also responded to the scene.
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