Santa Barbara police officers blocked off a section of Chapala Street Thursday afternoon while investigating a false bomb threat.
Santa Barbara police officers blocked off a section of Chapala Street Thursday afternoon while investigating a false bomb threat. Credit: Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo

The Santa Barbara Police Department is investigating a series of false bomb threats that occurred in the city Thursday and Friday.

Two of the threats — one Thursday afternoon and one Friday — were received by the EF language school at 1421 Chapala Street.

Threats also were received Thursday afternoon at Notre Dame School, 33 E. Micheltorena St., and at the Santa Barbara Police Station at 215 E. Figueroa St.

“The Santa Barbara Police Department takes these types of calls very seriously, and in each case immediately responded conducting thorough searches of the locations,” said Lt. Kasi Corbett. “Included in those searches were the use of bomb-detection dogs and, at times, evacuations.

“In each case, no bombs or other similar type devices were located. At this time there is no reason to believe these threats are credible.”

The incidents Thursday caused major traffic tie-up on some downtown streets, which were closed while emergency personnel responded and investigated the reports.

Such incidents, commonly referred to as “swatting,” have been reported in the Santa Barbara area, and around the country, in recent months. Many of the phone calls reporting the bomb threats have come from out of state, and the motive for doing them is unclear.

“This type of false reporting of an emergency is illegal and extremely dangerous. Fake or prank emergency calls place first responders and members of the community as risk and tie up emergency resources,” Corbett said Friday.

As part of its investigation, the department has notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is standard in such incidents, Corbett said.

These incidents remain under investigations, and anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 805.882.8900.

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Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com.