Nearly a dozen Jewish community centers across the country were forced to evacuate Tuesday after receiving bomb threats, according to local news outlets.
At least 10 centers in seven states — California, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Utah — received threatening calls Tuesday morning warning of possible explosive devices planted inside the buildings. No bombs were ultimately found.
One such incident occurred Tuesday at Alpert Community Jewish Center in Long Beach, California, Tuesday. The Long Beach Police Department said it is now investigating the matter as a hate crime, KTLA-TV reported.
"Lots of children inside. Lots of panicked parents fueled the panic in the children," one woman, who did not want to be identified, told KTLA.
The wave of incidents came less than two weeks after 27 Jewish Community Centers in 17 states received similar calls, according to the Jewish Community Center Association of North America. A week before that, 16 centers in nine states received calls of bomb threats that turned out to be false alarms.
“While we’re extremely proud of our JCCs for professionally handling yet another threatening situation, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats. While the bombs in question are hoaxes, the calls are not," David Posner, spokesman for the JCC Association of North America said in a Jan. 18 statement.
The latest wave of threats Tuesday targeted the following centers, from California to New York:
- Alpert Community Jewish Center in Long Beach, California
- Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla, California
- Boulder Jewish Community Center in Boulder, Colorado
- Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge, Connecticut
- Jewish Community Center MetroWest in West Orange, New Jersey
- Kaplen Jewish Community Center in Tenafly, New Jersey
- Jewish Community Center in DeWitt, New York
- Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center in Albany, New York
- I.J. & Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
It was the second time in recent weeks that Kaplen Jewish Community Center in Tenafly, New Jersey, has received a bomb threat, according to NJ.com. It was also the second recent threat for the Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center in Albany, according to the Albany Times Union.
For the Boulder Jewish Community Center, it's the second threat they've received in less than two years. In April 2015, it received a letter that read "You have enemies" along with a white powder that officials later determined was not toxic, KDVR-TV reported.
As for whether the dozens of incidents are connected, authorities aren't ruling it out.
"This might be part of a larger incident that's happening across the nation," Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking told the Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday.
According to KSWB-TV in San Diego, the FBI launched an investigation following the first wave of threats made Jan. 9.
An FBI spokeswoman did not immediately respond to TheBlaze Wednesday when asked for an update on the probe.