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Police respond to spate of Southern California bomb threats

April 19, 2013|By Joseph Serna

Bomb squads from Hollywood to East L.A. to Berkeley have been busy as law enforcement officers responded to multiple bomb threats in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack.

At Cal State Los Angeles on Thursday, a caller reached authorities by a pay phone to say a bomb had been planted on the East L.A. campus and was set to go off at 1 p.m.

LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said school administrators decided to evacuate the campus and cancel classes as a precaution. The caller said a bomb would explode in two hours, Moore said.

Students were cleared from dorms and classrooms, and television images showed a long line of cars attempting to leave the parking lot. Many described confusion when the campus alarms went off, and said they initially thought it was a drill.

Many students said they did not receive notifications from the school's emergency alert system. The university posted information on its Twitter and Facebook pages announcing the evacuation.

The threat was the latest in a string of bomb threats across the Southland since two bombs went off Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Following Thursday’s threats at Cal State L.A., the Los Angeles Police Department warned UC Berkeley officials that they’d received a threat of a bomb on the Northern California campus.

UC Berkeley police officials said they determined the threat had “low credibility,” and the university continued operating as normal. 

“We were informed secondhand through the originating agency [LAPD],” said Lt. Eric Tejada of the UC Berkeley Police Department. “We did a threat assessment and determined it was a low threat. We decided to keep things business as usual.”

The same could not be said for a Hooters restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard.

LAPD officials said a man walked into the restaurant Thursday afternoon with an ice chest he claimed had a bomb inside.

The suspect was later taken into custody.

He told officers: "I was just joking," according to a law enforcement source.

Area law enforcment has been on guard since the Boston bombing. An LAPD bomb squad blew up a pressure cooker-like device Wednesday -– officials said the Boston bombs used devices called pressure cookers -– and responded to a bomb threat at KTLA-TV’s studios as well.

A suspicious package was reported at UCLA on Wednesday, but police later determined that it was harmless.

None of the threats this week have proved credible.

ALSO:

Bomb threat at Hooters closes Hollywood Boulevard

State rail officials acknowledge changing construction bid rules

Bomb squad responds again to Cal State L.A. after campus evacuated

joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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