Bomb threats damper Black Friday shopping

Shaina James

An ongoing investigation is in process after a number of bomb threats forced several Marquette businesses to evacuate and close their doors on Black Friday.

Econo Foods, Shopko, Holiday Inn, Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and JC Pennys were among the list of businesses that received the threatening phone call around 3 p.m. Friday. The person on the other line stated there was a bomb in the business and they needed to evacuate it immediately.

“[Marquette Police] is working with Marquette’s sheriff’s office on the investigation,” said Marquette Police Detective Capt. Gordon Warchock. “We are working with the stores involved and looking at phone records to hopefully identify where the calls came from.”

The Marquette Police Department is examining the calls to Econo Foods, Shopko and the Holiday Inn. The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the threats to Target, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and JC Penney.

According to Warchock stores were temporarily evacuated while law enforcement personnel and management went through the facilities looking for any obvious devises. No explosive devices were found during the search.

Econo Foods manager Dan Parvu said the stores evacuation was done in a timely matter.

“Due to the cause of panic it was in the best nature of the situation not to say to customers the reason for evacuation,” said Parvu. “Because of this the evacuation went smoothly and safely.

Marquette Police believes that the calls were all connected and according to Warchock, dealing with multiple bomb threats is something new for everyone involved.

“We have investigated bomb threats before,” Warchock said. “This particular event where we have been called into multiple bomb threats at once, we have not seen before.”

The Marquette City and Township Fire Departments also assisted in the incident.

A reward of $1,600 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for the bomb threats. According to The Mining Journal the reward started at $500, a contribution from the paper and has increased with the help of community donations, including from Wal-Mart, Econo Foods, Holiday Inn and the Westwood Mall.

Anyone with information regarding the bomb threats can contact Marquette Police at (906) 228-0400.