First published in the March 12 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank Police Department received a false threat from someone claiming to have placed a bomb at the local YMCA this week, officials said.
The BPD received a call at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday from an unidentified person who said they had placed a bomb in the YMCA facility, according to police Sgt. Brent Fekety. Officers searched the area but did not find a bomb or similar device, Fekety said. He added that the department is treating the false report as a “swatting” attempt, in which someone harasses a person or organization by attempting to attract a heavy police presence — particularly Special Weapons and Tactics teams — to the location.
“These types of calls … happen periodically in the city of Burbank,” Fekety said in an email. “We take these calls seriously and investigate all false reports of emergencies.”
Mary Cutone, the Burbank YMCA’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the nonprofit had received a call threatening “acts of violence” Wednesday at its main fitness facility and evacuated those inside. Though Burbank police assured the YMCA that it safe to return to the location, Cutone added, officials decided to keep the building closed for the remainder of the day out of an abundance of caution.
“At the Burbank Community YMCA, nothing is more important than the safety and security of our members, program participants, volunteers, staff and community,” she said. “The Y is fully supporting law enforcement authorities in their ongoing investigation of the incident.”
Fekety said the BPD didn’t have a suspect for the incident as of this week, noting that the caller used an unknown device to disguise their voice. Anyone with information about the incident was encouraged to contact the BPD at (818) 238-3000.