CHEYENNE — Simultaneous bomb threats to Cheyenne Regional Airport and Frontier Mall in Wyoming’s capital city Tuesday morning prompted the mall to evacuate and police sweeps of both facilities. Both threats turned out to be bogus.
But that doesn’t mean the Cheyenne Police Department is writing them off as a hoax, CPD spokeswoman Alexandra Farkas told Cowboy State Daily.
Although there has been a rise in bomb threats to the mall, schools and other locations around Cheyenne in recent months, all are considered viable until proven otherwise, she said.
In the case of Tuesday’s threats, both were sent to mall and airport via email at about 10 a.m., she said. In both cases, the facilities immediately called police.
It takes about an hour to sweep through, sometimes with the help of other law enforcement, like the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office, which has an explosive-sniffing K-9, Farkas said.
“Both locations were cleared and officers don’t believe there’s a threat to public safety,” she said. “We treat each one the same.”
Although she didn’t know exactly what was in the emailed threats, Farkas said that “it was enough for us to be called in.”
Frontier Mall alerted its stores and employees via its electronic alert system: “Frontier Mall has received a bomb threat. All stores and personnel muse evacuate NOW,” it reads. It also says that “the mall will be closed until further notice.”
About 90 minutes later, the mall pushed out an update that CPD didn’t find anything, that the mall is doing its own sweep “to ensure absolute safety.” Store workers were allowed to go back in at 12:30 p.m. and the mall was set to reopen at 1.
Farkas said the emails will be investigated to try and determine where they came from, and that many threats of this nature originate from outside the country. That’s what makes facilities like malls and airports potential targets.
“A lot of the time, this comes from outside of our country,” she said. “Unfortunately, we are seeing more of this, and fortunately, most of these are not credible.”
For now, “a full investigation” is underway that could include bringing in federal agencies to try and locate the origin of the emails, and if that’s the case, “we’ll work with our federal partners,” Farkas said.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that while Frontier Mall evacuated in response to the threat, Cheyenne Regional Airport did not.