A bomb threat was called in to the Jewish Community Alliance on Wednesday morning, according to the Portland Police Department, one of more than a dozen such calls phoned into Jewish organizations Wednesday.

The threatening phone call came at 9:30 a.m. to the organization at 57 Ashmont St., which runs a preschool and food pantry. The caller, who also made anti-Semitic remarks, said that a bomb would be detonated in the preschool.

Portland police have not made any arrests in the case, and the investigation is ongoing, said Lt. Robert Martin. The call sounded live, rather than a recording. Phone threats sometimes use robotic or computerized voices to hide the identity of the caller.

Forty children and several staff members were evacuated from the building, trudging on foot through the snow to a safe location, he said. Police searched the facility with a bomb-sniffing dog. No device was found, and the building’s activities continued.

At least 18 other Jewish institutions around the country also received bomb threats Wednesday, including in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida and Alabama, according to news reports. Those threats followed a previous wave of similar bomb threats that were made on Jan. 9 to 15 Jewish community centers around the country. No bombs were found and there were no injuries in last week’s threats.

The case has been referred to the Civil Rights Unit of the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

Anyone with pertinent information is asked to call Portland police at 874-8575.


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