Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 46
 
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
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Borough Detectives Seek Bomb Threat Caller

Dilshanie Perera

No bomb was found after hours of searching Hulfish North last week, though a tip phoned into the Borough Police Department last Wednesday morning resulted in the evacuation and shut-down of much of Palmer Square. Police detectives are currently trying to identify and locate the caller.

At 6:13 a.m. on November 10, the Borough Police communications center received an anonymous phone call in which the speaker “advised that there was a bomb in the Hulfish North building under construction,” Captain Nick Sutter reported.

Since the information relayed in the telephone call was “very specific and detailed,” in terms of knowledge about the building, the police “deemed it to be credible” and evacuated the area. The construction site was cleared, and the adjacent residential, office, retail, and other surrounding properties were likewise evacuated.

The Residences at Palmer Square development office was notified of the threat. Once tenants were evacuated, the area was locked down.

Vice President of Palmer Square Management David Newton noted that the tenants in Palmer Square found out about the news at approximately 7:45 a.m. and that he was notified at 8:20 a.m. “This isn’t an everyday occurrence and it throws you off,” he acknowledged.

Mr. Newton characterized the threat as “indefensible,” calling it “a callous act.”

Paul Robeson Place, Chambers Street, Hulfish Street, and Palmer Square were closed for much of the morning and afternoon, with Mr. Newton noting that stores reopened around 1:30 p.m. once no threat was found.

Thirteen bomb-sniffing dogs from state and local K-9 units were called in to search for potential harmful agents before the bomb squad checked the premises in an effort that involved Borough and Township Police, the State Police, Lawrence Township, West Windsor, and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

Currently, the “investigation is still active,” said Mr. Sutter, and Borough detectives are searching for the caller.

Borough Police Chief David Dudeck reported that the department has identified the area from which the call originated and that they are following “some legitimate leads” in tracking down the culprit.

“I want to thank the State Police and the various police departments that gave us their assets during the bomb threat,” Chief Dudeck said, emphasizing the cooperation between communities. He expressed his gratitude to the officers in his own department as well, noting that “from the time we got the call, they did everything they were supposed to do … it takes time and our guys hustled.”

Characterizing everyone affected by the incident, including “Palmer Square Management, the Nassau Inn, and the construction officials onsite” “extremely cooperative and understanding,” Mr. Sutter expressed his gratitude for their response in the emergency situation as well.

The day was grueling on many fronts. Mr. Newton noted that “to make matters worse, the water main up by J. Crew burst. So there was water on one side of the square, and a potential fire on the other side of the square. The management and maintenance were tested that day.”

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