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False Bomb Threat Prompts Closure of Santa Maria Bank

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | updated logo |

The Santa Barbara County sheriff’‘s bomb squad responded Wednesday to a Santa Maria bank, which was closed several hours while investigators searched for a potential bomb that turned out to be an unfounded threat.

Santa Maria Police received a report at 11:25 a.m. that a bomb could be in a safety-deposit box at the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust branch at 335 E Betteravia Road, said Sgt. Russ Mengel.

Police received the call from an employee, who had an interaction with a customer who made implied threats that led them to believe there might be an explosive in the customer’s safety-deposit box, Mengel said.

Although police have incomplete information about the call at this time, Mengel said, the report tentatively showed that an employee asked a customer if he needed help getting into a safety-deposit box. During a brief exchange, the customer told the employee, “I’ve already said too much’.”

The bomb squad arrived on scene at 5:30 p.m. and assisted police for two hours, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff spokeswoman.

“We opened and examined a safety deposit box. No explosives or dangerous items were found,” she said.

The bank was closed for several hours and the area cordoned off while investigators searched the building.

The case is still under investigation, according to police.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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