BERGENFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Investigators say anonymous call reporting that two people were being held hostage in a northern New Jersey dry cleaning business and had bombs strapped to them turned out to be a hoax.
Bergenfield police received a call from a man late Saturday night, who claimed he was holding the hostages at gunpoint. The caller said he would shoot himself, the hostages and anyone who came near the building.
Borough police officers and county law enforcement agency teams surrounded the businesses shortly before midnight and entered the structure a short time later, but no one was found inside the building.
Traffic in the area was detoured while the call was being investigated, but authorities said no residents or surrounding businesses in the area had to be evacuated due to the store’s location and the late hour of the incident.
Authorities say the hoax call is the latest in a series of recent “swatting” incidents, where a caller falsely reports an emergency or hostage situation. Officials say such calls are dangerous because they unnecessarily put law enforcement officers and residents at risk of being injured.
Bergenfield police say they will “aggressively investigate” the incident and prosecute whoever made the false report. Borough authorities say detectives have several leads regarding the origin of the call.
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