JCC Evacuated After Suspicious Looking Briefcases Are Found In Bushes
Two suspicious looking briefcases were found in the bushes outside the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center today, prompting JCC officials to call police and evacuate the building for about two-and-a-half hours this afternoon.
The briefcases, which had been placed behind some shrubbery in front of the Teen Center, turned out to be empty upon examination by members of the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad.
Local and State police officers responded to a 3:15 call from the JCC reporting some questionable packages had been found outside the building
“They were empty, beat up briefcases,” said Chief Michael Patton of the West Bloomfield Police Department. “The JCC staff is trained to look for things that seem out of place.”
After police arrived, an announcement was made asking everyone to leave the building, and the parking lot was secured by police. The announcement came around dismissal time at Frankel Jewish Academy, which is housed in the JCC. Students waiting for rides stood outside on the lawn, while police allowed parents to meet their children in the driveway while the parking lot remained off limits. Extracurricular activities were cancelled, including rehearsal for the upcoming production of Brighton Beach Memoirs, along with some of the scheduled JCC evening programs.
The building re-opened around 6pm, after members of the West Bloomfield Police Department and the Michigan State Police Canine Team did a final sweep of the premises and determined there were no safety risks inside or on the grounds.
Patton said police are still reviewing security footage to obtain more information about who might have deposited the briefcases.
“There were no calls or threats,” said Patton, “but we all felt appropriate caution should be taken in light of what happened in Boston.”
By Ronelle Grier