Janesville Mall bomb threats related, police believe

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Frank Schultz and Shelly Birkelo
December 3, 2015

JANESVILLE—Police believe the same person or persons made both recent false bomb threats at the Janesville Mall.

The second threat was made Wednesday night at the Janesville Mall, 2500 Milton Ave., police reported.

The mall was evacuated the first time Saturday but not Wednesday.

“We didn't find any information that would necessitate immediate evacuation,” Janesville police Lt. Charles Aagaard said.

Lt. Keith Lawver said the decision to evacuate is up to the mall.

When asked for comment, a mall spokeswoman would say only that the mall has a plan to keep everyone safe and that it can't say anything about the plan.

“Mall security is a 24/7 365-day program inside and outside the property, and plans are adjusted based on traffic levels and peak shopping days/times. We will continue to work with local police department to ensure our standards are maintained. We cannot release any other specifics about security as it would compromise our program,” according to a statement from Priscilla Visintine, a marketing consultant for the mall's owner, who responded to Gazette request for information.

Both threats were made on social media, and they are similar, Lawver said.

Lawver would not specify why investigators believe the two threats are related. He said detectives are working to identify the person making the threat, but as of Thursday afternoon, no suspect had been identified, and no motive was known.

Wednesday's threat was reported at 6:09 p.m.

Police asked the Janesville Fire Department to be on standby Wednesday at the mall, fire Capt. Jody Stowers said.

Aagaard said another bomb threat was written Tuesday on a bathroom wall at the Rock River Charter School, 31 W. Milwaukee St.

“This is not the first time bomb threats have been made at the charter school,” he said.

Making a false bomb threat is a felony, punishable by time in prison.

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