Campus safety investigates bomb threat hoaxes
Posted September 2, 2007; 06:00 a.m.
The Department of Public Safety is investigating two e-mailed bomb threats received by the University in the past week and deemed to be hoaxes.
One threat was directed at the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the other was directed at the Lawrence Apartments housing complex. Both were anonymous, similar to e-mail threats being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that were sent to other colleges and universities across the country over the past week.
A University employee checking a general information e-mail inbox accessed the first e-mailed threat around 11:30 a.m. Aug. 27 and informed public safety. Officers conducted an immediate scan of the buildings -- along with department managers familiar with the buildings -- and no hazardous devices were found.
State police and the FBI advised that the threat was not credible, and federal investigators informed the University that other institutions had received similar e-mail threats, which reinforced the doubted credibility of the threat.
The threat directed at Lawrence Apartments was accessed around 7:50 p.m. Sept. 1 by a University employee checking a different general Princeton e-mail address. He informed public safety, and campus police searched the housing complex with assistance from police agencies in the surrounding area.
Members of the campus community directly affected by the bomb threat investigations were informed through various communications that included notification in person or e-mail sent through the Connect-ED
emergency alert system. The notification system, which was employed for the first time since a system-wide test of the new system in May, allows the University to send alerts through e-mail, phone and SMS text messaging, depending on the assessed level of threat to personal safety. Given the nature of the hoaxes, e-mails were sent as a notification measure to inform occupants of the engineering school and the Lawrence Apartments of the investigations.
Campus police continue to investigate the e-mail threats with the assistance of the University's Office of Information Technology and the FBI. The first threat received was sent to a single e-mail address, but the second was sent to multiple general e-mail boxes serving the University. The threats are believed to have originated off campus.
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