Bomb threat targets post office

BRIDGEPORT – The week between Christmas and New Years is usually a pretty busy day around the Post Office.

Thursday afternoon in Bridgeport was no different.

However, the hub of activity around the village post office, didn’t include those wishing to get some end-of-the-year mailing finished, rather uniformed police officers, emergency medical personnel, volunteer firefighters and a bomb-sniffing dog from the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Bridgeport Police Chief Andy Klotz, a bomb threat was called into the post office, located on the corner of South Lincoln Avenue and Howard Street, at approximately 2:35 p.m.

Klotz said a male caller phoned the post office and said, “There’s a bomb in the post office and no one is to leave.” He then hung up, Klotz said.

“There were two employees in the building at the time of the threat,” Klotz added. “Both of them were evacuated.”

They were reportedly both taken out of the building via a back entrance. No one was injured.

“We are taking all the precautions necessary to make sure the area is safe and secure,” Klotz continued. “Citizens living in the adjacent neighborhood have been advised of the situation and were urged to leave their residences.”

At 3:30 p.m., Klotz said he was awaiting a bomb squad from Zanesville to arrive and make a sweep through the brick structure.

“Once the area is determined to bomb-free, we will start looking at where the phone call originated,” Klotz added.

A bomb-sniffing dog from the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene shortly before 5 p.m. The dog searched the structure and the property surrounding it but no bomb was found.

During the threat, traffic was re-directed around the restricted area at several different locations. Given the location of the post office, this was no easy task.

Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk was stationed at the corner of Bennett Street and South Lincoln Avenue directing traffic south on Lincoln from Bennett, which is a one-way street heading east. Traffic was also re-routed onto Hall Street and then onto Dekalb Street before being detoured onto Bennett.

The 100 block of Howard Street was shut down, as was the alley running between Howard and Bennett streets.

One resident of Bennett Street likened the increase in traffic to “a parade-like” atmosphere.

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