New Jersey

Bomb Threat, Ransom Demand Spark Evacuation in New Jersey Neighborhood

What to Know

  • A typed, anonymous letter threatening to detonate a bomb was sent to a business owner in Pompton Lakes
  • The letter demanded $25,000 in cash; the business owner says he thought the letter was a joke but contacted police as a precaution
  • After the area was evacuated, no bomb was found; the FBI is helping to investigate

A bomb threat that sparked an evacuation of a New Jersey neighborhood appears to be similar to one that other businesses in New Jersey and across the country have gotten, law enforcement sources say.

The bomb threat sent to a business in Pompton Lakes Tuesday contained a ransom demand, according to police. 

The owner of the shop, Walsh Imaging, says he and his employees returned from the holiday weekend to see a single paper sitting on their printer. 

The typed, anonymous letter said: "I installed several explosives in the building. If you do not send in the amount of $25,000 by May 31st, I will blow this whole block." 

The letter went on to instruct the owner to send the money to a Brazilian man with a specific passport number. 

"At first we thought it was a joke," said business owner Tony Iurato. "It was written really poorly and some poor grammar, but we took it seriously enough and we contacted authorities." 

Firefighters and EMS were deployed to the scene as police evacuated the area and investigated. The Passaic County Sheriff's Department bomb squad checked out the building and found no explosive devices, police said. 

Residents and workers were allowed back into their homes and businesses.

"I felt relieves when the officer said I would go home," said neighbor Kim Conklin. "I was like all right, yes, I'm going home." 

Law enforcement sources say Pompton Lakes isn't the only place dealing with this kind of threat. Similar notes demanding the same $25,000 were either faxed or emailed to random businesses around the country, sources said. 

One business in Park Ridge, New Jersey, got a similar demand, as did four other separate locations in Detroit and others around the country. No bombs were discovered.

The FBI says it's investigating, and law enforcement sources warn there will be thousands more similar threats in the coming weeks. 

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