Police find nothing in Chevron bomb scare

By Andrew Shull

A bomb threat at Chevron Science Center on Monday afternoon turned out to be a false… A bomb threat at Chevron Science Center on Monday afternoon turned out to be a false alarm.

Pitt police chief Tim Delaney said a worker in the Chevron Science Center found a note written on the wall of a stall in the second floor women’s bathroom around 4:30 p.m. on Monday. It said a bomb would go off at 8:29 p.m. No date or location was given.

Fifty minutes later, Pitt sent out an Emergency Notification Service alert, the fire alarm in the building was pulled, and Chevron was evacuated.

“In this day and age, this is what we do,” Delaney said about taking precautions regarding bomb threats.

The building was cleared an hour later after the Pitt police, city police, Port Authority police and three bomb-sniffing dogs swept the 14-story building. Each dog took a different section of the building so as not to overwork each animal, Delaney said.

“We don’t want to scare everyone, but we have to take precautions,” he said.

The building remained closed until 9:30 p.m., disrupting all of the evening classes scheduled for Monday night at the building.

Delaney said that the Pitt police take false bomb threats very seriously.

Last year, charges were dropped against former Pitt student Louisa Nkrumah of Harrisburg after federal prosecutors said that she called the Pitt police and threatened to destroy the Cathedral of Learning and Posvar Hall in 2008. A judge dismissed the charges against her in April 2011 after she completed 150 hours of community service and paid Pitt $8,000 over the course of one year.

Delaney said that following that incident, the University had been “relatively clean,” and had not received another threat until Monday.

“If this was a fake or a false, they accomplished their goals,” Delaney said, pointing to the four hours of disrupted class and the police response.

“People think this is a prank, but it’s not. All of those resources could have been used to respond to real emergencies, but instead they were here,” he said.

The fire department, Pitt police, city police, the city bomb squad and Pitt engineers all responded to the threat.