Police Investigate Series of Campus Bomb Threats

Authorities believe threats are a hoax; investigators pursuing leads

The Duke University Police Department, along with multiple outside law enforcement agencies, is investigating leads in three campus bomb threats this week.

Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke's emergency coordinator, said authorities believe one individual may be responsible for the calls in the early morning on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

"We currently believe that these are a hoax and that the intent is to disrupt campus operations," Cavanaugh said. "However, given the severity of these threats, each one has to be assessed individually for its credibility, and then we have to ensure the safety of the community and communicate accordingly."

The series of bomb threats started shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday when an individual called the Durham Emergency Communications Center to report a bomb threat in the Bryan Center, which houses university stores, dining facilities, theaters and other offices. On Thursday, there was another call about a bomb in the Great Hall in the West Union. Then on Friday morning, police searched and cleared the Bryan Center after the third threat.

Since the criminal investigation is ongoing, no further details will be released at this time about the calls or caller in the incidents.

"We are partnering with law enforcement agencies to aggressively pursue the perpetrator as quickly as possible," Cavanaugh said.

In the cases involving the Bryan Center on Tuesday and Friday, Duke notified its community through the DukeALERT emergency notification system and sent blast text messages and emails to students, employees and nearby Durham neighbors.

"Given the size of the Bryan Center and location, it was important to inform the entire community about that," Cavanaugh said. "The one on Thursday was much more contained, and we were able to resolve that one very quickly without having to send out a broad-based communication."

In all cases, announcements were posted on Duke Today, the university's news site.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Duke Police at (919) 684-2444 or to submit information online.