A Jewish community center in Albany, New York was evacuated on Monday after receiving an email bomb threat that authorities later determined was a hoax.
On Monday afternoon, Albany Jewish Community Center CEO David Posner said in a statement that the center had reopened after law enforcement searched the building and determined there was no bomb.
Earlier in the day, Steve Smith of the Albany Police Department said on Twitter: "Albany police are currently investigating a threat at the Albany JCC that was received via email. The building has been safely evacuated and more info will be released as it becomes available. Please stay away from the area while officers continue to investigate.”
After the sweep by police finished at approximately 1 p.m., the center was given the all-clear to reopen as usual.
“I think it’s a sad day in this country when we see the level of hate and vitriol and racism that exists and we saw that today at the JCC,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said at a press conference. “It was a threat that was unacceptable, I mean, from the standpoint of this community, of how diverse and open our community is, how richly we benefit from places like the JCC and the diversity that exists in our community.”
In February 2020, the Albany Jewish Community Center was one of 19 Jewish community centers across the US that received email bomb threats that turned out to be unfounded.
In that instance, police evacuated the building and swept it for bombs, later declaring the all clear.
“When you threaten a JCC, these are, it’s not just an anti-Semitic attack. You have children who go to the JCC. You have gym facilities here. So, you are really threatening children,” then-Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “It is one of the most heinous things you can do. And again, it is fear and it is terror. That is all it is – terror.”
The center was also targeted with a bomb threat in 2017.
That year, the Albany JCC was one of 54 Jewish community buildings throughout the United States that received phoned bomb threats. Most came from a 19-year-old dual American-Israeli citizen, who was indicted on federal hate crimes charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, though his attorney said he was not competent to stand trial.
The same man also made hundreds of bomb threats to hospitals, airlines, schools and Jewish institutions in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Britain.