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UNM Police evacuate Mitchell, Ortega and Popejoy halls this morning to investigate bomb threats

UPDATE: Nothing suspicious found after bomb threat investigation

Updated 10:43 a.m.

At about 10:15 a.m., UNMPD Operations Lieutenant Trace Peck said APD bomb squad officials cleared inspection of the Popejoy, Ortega and Mitchell Halls.

Peck said three teams of bomb squad officials entered each building with one sniffing dog each. None found anything suspicious in any of the structures, he said.

UNMPD public information officer Tim Stump said classes will resume in the buildings at 11 a.m.
Stump said that during the incident, the Albuquerque Fire Department was also on standby.

He said that although the incident was yet another false alarm for a bomb threat, he is glad that the threat turned out to a fluke. UNMPD is investigating who the anonymous caller is, he said.

“I’m glad it is a false alarm,” he said. “I would hope that somehow we’ll find out who’s doing it.”
Reporting false bomb threats to police is a fourth-degree felony, Stump said.

Updated at 10:06 a.m.

For at least the third time this calendar year, an on-campus bomb threat disrupted the normal campus day Tuesday morning.

UNM Police Department public information officer Tim Stump responded to the bomb threat immediately after 8:02 a.m. when UNMPD got an anonymous call warning of potential explosions.

“At 8:02 a.m. we got a call from male, muffled voice saying that he planted bombs in three buildings, Popejoy Hall, Mitchell and Ortega Hall,” he said. “We sent officers to every building, tried to evacuate everybody that we saw on site, pulled fire alarms.”

UNMPD sent out an emergency alert to UNM students immediately after finding out about the call. Classes in the three halls were cancelled for about one hour and a half.

Albuquerque Police Department Bomb Squad officers and sniffing dogs arrived on the scene and started inspecting the three buildings at about 9:15 a.m. Stump said classes won’t resume in the evacuated buildings until officers finish inspection.

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Police were unable to trace the call, Stump said.

“We have phone services that we go through, and we contacted to,” he said. “They’re either able to or not to contact (the suspect), and they said they’re not.”

But Stump said that at the moment, the bomb threat seems false. He said that still, officers are staying keen about the incident.

“I don’t know if it’s someone not wanting to do their midterms or just pranks,” he said. “In lieu of the stuff that’s just been around the city, we take it very seriously. We’re taking every precaution to ensure that everybody’s safe.”

Although this is the third bomb threat at UNM in 2013, Stump said incidents like this are “very rare.”

The first bomb threat at UNM this year happened at the Anthropology Annex and at the Science and Mathematics Learning Center in February. The second happened in April at the UNM dental residency clinic.

9:43 a.m.

University officials have called for an evacuation to Mitchell, Popejoy and Ortega halls because of an anonymous bomb threat Tuesday morning.

UNM sent a text message through its alert system at 8:20 a.m. telling students, faculty, staff and others to evacuate the buildings and to avoid those areas until further notice.

Police officers are investigating the threat, and UNM Communications Director Dianne Anderson said the evacuations are a precaution.

Check back with for more details as they become available.

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