Someone reportedly called security personnel at the Cherry Hill Mall and issued a bomb threat. Mall officials immediately contacted the Cherry Hill Police Department, which dispatched officers on the bomb squad to the scene at the corner of Route 38 and Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Cherry Hill police were joined by members of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement investigated the threat and searched the 1.35-million square foot mall.
Since authorities were not certain about how valid the bomb threat might have been, they decided to evacuate the entire facility.
After the evacuation, a spokesperson for the Cherry Hill Mall issued an official statement and thanked local police for responding so quickly to the threat.
Although the threat turned out to be a hoax, mall officials did not regret their decision to evacuate the building. The Cherry Hill Mall spokesperson said that when a threat is issued against the mall, “safety comes first.”
Prior to issuing the evacuation order, mall officials considered the possibility that the threat might have been a “swatting” hoax. In recent weeks, public places throughout New Jersey have been targeted by individuals who call-in fake emergencies in the hopes of prompting a response by law enforcement. The actions are called “swatting” incidents because the culprits try to get SWAT units to show up.
At this time, the swatting incident at the Cherry Hill Mall is still being investigated by Cherry Hill police. If investigators are eventually able to identify and apprehend a suspect, serious criminal charges for terroristic threats or creating a false public alarm could follow.
To learn more about this case, go to the NJ.com article entitled “Cherry Hill Authorities Feared Phoned-in Bomb Threat Was ‘Swatting.’”