WHITMAN — Early morning traffic was snarled in Whitman Tuesday as traffic was re-routed to avoid a section of Bedford Street (Route 18) during an investigation of a bomb threat — determined to be a hoax.
In a joint press release Whitman Police and Fire departments stated they investigated a report of a bomb threat at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 30, which was later determined to be a hoax similar to one in another state.
Officials made the decision to close Bedford Street during the investigation out of an abundance of caution, the chiefs said. The business, an insurance office, and surrounding businesses, including a fast food restaurant, were evacuated for a short time.
Police Chief Scott Benton and Fire Chief Timothy J. Grenno both responded to the scene. The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad responded and conducted a search that discredited the threat.
“While we regret the inconvenience this incident may have caused, we hope that citizens and motorists understand that these precautions can sometimes be necessary,” Benton said. “These cases require the utmost caution, because being wrong even once can result in dire consequences.”
The Whitman threat was reportedly received by a business owner via fax. Police stated the hoax was nearly identical to another reported incident in London, Ky., at a newspaper printing company. In both messages, the owner was instructed to wire $25,000 to a Brazilian national in Chicago. Whitman Police warn business owners that these faxes are hoaxes, and any money wired to anonymous individuals will be lost forever and cannot be recovered.
During the investigation, Whitman Police and Fire were assisted at the scene by Abington and East Bridgewater Police units.
The incident is under investigation by the Whitman Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and federal authorities.