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FBI, NJSP involved in probe of bomb threats that cleared schools in five Bergen towns

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Correspondent Kevin Teel
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Correspondent Kevin Teel

UPDATE: School bomb scares on warm days may be a common occurrence, but when threatening calls were received today at high schools in four different towns, along with one to a Board of Education in a fifth, authorities had to take particular notice. That includes the FBI and the New Jersey State Police.

Nothing was found at any of the seven schools that were evacuated and searched, Bergen County Police Chief Brian Higgins said.

Made in succession in a span of less than a half-hour, this afternoon’s threats to Fort Lee, Hackensack, Garfield and Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood — along with the Leonia Board of Education and Garfield police headquarters — “appear to be from the same number,” a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Another added that it was initially believe to be from North Carolina with a possible Garfield connection.

The FBI was notified because of the timing and the suspicion that a single source was responsible, they said. Agents from the bureau were working in conjunction with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the lead agency.

State Police became involved, sending K9 units and other officers, given the scope.

It began just before 1 p.m. with a call to Garfield police headquarters, a sweep of which was completed, Bergen County Police Capt. James Mullin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Within several minutes, calls came in to Dwight Morrow, Fort Lee (above) , Hackensack (below) and Garfield high schools, along with the Leonia Board of Education, Mullin said.

The caller didn’t mention a particular Leonia school, so Police Chief Thomas Rowe and Schools Supt. Joanne Megargee decided to evacuate all three schools in town.

The Bergen County Police Department sent bomb squad and K9 units to the affected schools to join local police and Bergen County Sheriff’s officers in the five towns while local firefighters and ambulance crews remained on standby. State Police quickly joined them.

The rest of the school day was suspended at the affected schools. In addition, some elementary schools in those towns were locked in place.

Afternoon and evening activities were cancelled, as well.

At Hackensack High School today (PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Correspondent Kevin Teel)

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