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Bomb threats in Bozeman were hoaxes targeting upcoming Pride events, police say

Posted at 7:52 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 21:52:39-04

BOZEMAN — Over the weekend, multiple bomb threats were called into various locations around Bozeman, targeting LGBTQ+ and upcoming Pride events.

Deputy Chief of Police Andy Knight said Bozeman police receives bomb threats like this "every once in a while.”

Bozeman police were notified of four separate bomb threats from Friday through Sunday. Two occurred Friday evening, targeting areas around Main and Rouse, as well as Willson and Kagy. The exact same threat was sent again Saturday morning for the same locations.

The final bomb threat happened Sunday morning, targeting the Nova Cafe area on Main Street. In a press release, Bozeman Police said the businesses and individuals targeted had connections to upcoming Pride events. Tactics like these have been used in the past to dissuade people from participating.

Knight said, “The bomb threat’s goal is to cause disruption, and it does cause disruption. It causes us to use resources—limited resources. But we still have to take them seriously and look at them just as we do all threats”.

On Friday, police shut down streets near the threatened locations and brought in bomb-sniffing K9s to determine the areas were safe.

But what are some other hints investigators look for when determining bomb threats are a hoax?

“We can look at several things to help us begin to make determinations. Number one, where is the threat originating from? In this case, it was originating from outside the United States,” says Knight.

Investigators were able to track the Friday threats to a location in Nigeria, Africa. The Saturday threat came from a location in Russia, and the Sunday threat is still being investigated.

“Number two, Just like with any sort of phishing scam, you look for misspellings. So that's a tell-tale sign,” Knight said.

Knight says there were a number of spelling and grammatical errors in each bomb threat sent over the weekend.

“Number three, bomb threats are generally not real. So, when we start to look at those, we start to piece those together that they have patterns from what's going on nationally,” says Knight.

Detectives were able to determine similar emails had been received by other businesses throughout the nation, all believed to be hoaxes.

Knight says if anyone is still concerned for their safety after these incidents, “We’ve determined there’s no public threat with these current bomb threats."

Further investigation is being conducted on the bomb threats. You can read the full statement from the Bozeman Police Department here: