St. Louis JCC receives bomb threat over email, no evacuation

The St. Louis Jewish Community Center received bomb threats over email on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. 

A St. Louis Jewish Community Center staff member received a bomb threat over email Tuesday night and upon reading the message Wednesday morning, someone from the organization called the police, a public information coordinator for St. Louis County Police said. 

The police sent bomb-sniffing dogs to the centers near Creve Coeur and in Chesterfield but the JCC staff decided not to evacuate the building because they did not believe the threats to have merit. Four other Jewish community centers also received threats, according to Lynn Wittels, president and CEO of the St. Louis JCC.

After 1 p.m., the local JCC sent out an email announcing that it had received an “all clear” from law enforcement.

“We cannot thank police, canine unit and FBI enough for their attention and guidance this morning,” Wittels wrote. “With their help, the help of our staff and the cooperation of everyone in our buildings, we were able to operate without interruption this morning while a thorough search was conducted.The continued threats to JCCs across the country is disheartening, but we take solace in the fact that they have all, nationwide, been hoaxes, and that no one has been hurt.”

The FBI took over the investigation from St. Louis County Police, said Sgt. Sean McGuire, public information coordinator for the police.

More than 150 threats have been called into Jewish institutions this year, according to the Secure Community Network, an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security. In January, the St. Louis JCC evacuated and closed its two buildings for several hours after receiving bomb threats.