Target Targeted for Dangerous Prank

By: Joe Kuhn
Last Thursday, Dec 10, the Spring Valley Target was swarmed by emergency services as first responders reacted to a phony bomb threat called into the Spring Valley Police Department. At approximately 5:30 PM Spring Valley Police received a phone call from a man inside the store, who claimed that he was armed, had multiple hostages, and had placed explosives throughout the building.
The Spring Valley Police Department immediately dispatched units to the store and the incident quickly spiraled into a multi-departmental operation lead by the SVPD.
The Target was evacuated and cleared by agencies on the scene as well as numerous Canine Units from throughout the state. Police discovered no hostages, explosives, or injured persons; once the store was deemed safe of any immediate threat, it was re-opened along with vehicular and pedestrian traffic to the Spring Valley Marketplace.
Although the investigation is currently pending, police believe that the initial call was a “swatting” incident. “Swatting” refers to the practice of calling in a fake emergency to a location in the hopes that a S.W.A.T team or other emergency responders will be deployed to the area. The dangerous prank has become more popular in recent years; in 2017 Kansas resident Tyler Barriss was sentenced to twenty years in prison after calling in a fake threat that resulted in a man being fatally shot outside his home by police.
The Spring Valley Police extended their thanks to the Clarkstown Police Department, Ramapo Police Department, Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, MTA Police, South Nyack-Grandview Police Department, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Spring Valley Fire Department, Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps and Rockland County Paramedic Services for assisting in the operation.