Bridgeport police will have extra patrols at a local synagogue after two bomb threats Friday afternoon.
Police said the bomb threats calls were directed at Congregation B’NAI Israel on Park Avenue. Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, the synogague received threats referring to explosive devices.
The building was evacuated, including young children who were inside at the time. A K9 unit was called in to sweep the building and the Connecticut State Police Bomb Squad was placed on standby.
Authorities said they didn't find any explosive devices.
Investigators determined the phone call was made by a man in his 60s who lives in Florida. Police said the man has a documented mental health history and has made these kinds of calls in the past,
There is no threat to the synagogue and police are in touch with the man's family, who will keep him from phones.
The rabbi said his number one priority was making sure everyone was out of the building safely.
1411hrs, BPD received 2 bomb threat calls directed at 2710 Park Ave(Congregation B’NAI Israel). Bridgeport Police are on scene investigating. State Police bomb scene has been put on standby.— Bridgeport Police (@bptpolice) October 25, 2019
"Immediately I went over...wanted to be there in the school to make sure the kids got out of the school right away. At first I wanted to cry, that someone would do this...now I'm feeling strengthened actually," Rabbi Evan Schultz said.
He said he felt strengthened because of the support from the city. They will hold services as scheduled, according to Schultz, who said they won't let fear tactics stop them.
There will be an increased police presence at the synagogue for the next several days.
Judy Alerin, who is the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, said they were dismayed to hear what happened in Bridgeport.
"The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven is saddened to hear of the bomb threat in Bridgeport today but relieved that everyone is safe. This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the murderous attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and as we mourn the loss we also remain at high alert as anti-Semitic incidents continue to plague our communities around the world."
Alerin added that they are concerned about potential copy-cat crimes and going into the weekend there will also be stepped up patrols at their location.
Hartford Police said they intend to up patrols around their area synagogues as well.