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Threats made to capitols in at least 5 states prompt evacuations, searches

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Washington — A series of bomb threats were made to at least five different state capitols and prompted evacuations Wednesday, according to state officials and law enforcement, though no explosives were found.

State police in Kentucky, Mississippi and Michigan, a state agency in Montana and a top election official in Georgia confirmed that the capitol buildings in their respective states received the threats. The FBI, too, said in a statement it is aware of "numerous hoax incidents" involving the bomb threats.

"The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk," the bureau said in a statement. "While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention."

The FBI urged members of the public to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. 

The Michigan State Police said in a series of social media posts that the threat involving the Capitol building in Lansing was emailed to a general email account for the Michigan State Capitol Commission on Wednesday morning. The message prompted the evacuation and search of the building. Canine teams also conducted a sweep, the state police said.

No threat to the building was found, though the Michigan Police said that the Capitol building would be closed for the day as a precaution.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also said the state police investigated a threat that the secretary of state's office received. Law enforcement searched the Capitol and grounds in Frankfort and cleared employees to return, the agency said.

"We are aware of similar threats made to other offices across the country," Beshear said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "We thank our first responders for their quick response."

In Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer for the secretary of state's office, said earlier Wednesday that a bomb threat at the Georgia State Capitol delayed its opening. The area was cleared just before 9 a.m. local time, Sterling said on social media.

"There have been multiple bomb threats to state capitols around the nation. So far Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan & Montana. Do not jump to conclusions as to who is responsible. There will be chaos agents sowing discord for 2024. They want to increase tensions. Don't let them," he wrote online.

Megan Grotzke, spokesperson for the Montana Department of Administration, said in a statement that a bomb threat made to the state capitol was "found to be not credible," and the building was reopened to the public after a sweep was completed.

In Mississippi, the Department of Public Safety confirmed in a social media post that it was notified of a bomb threat at the state capitol in Jackson earlier Wednesday morning, and no explosives or suspicious equipment were found during a search.

"Today a bomb threat was made against our Mississippi Capitol building. Thankfully, the situation is clear," Gov. Tate Reeves said on social media. "I'm incredibly thankful to the Capitol Police and all the Mississippi law enforcement officers who immediately responded to the incident."

The threats targeting the various state capitols come after several members of Congress were the victims of "swatting" incidents in recent weeks. The scheme involves hoax phone calls to law enforcement that prompt police to be dispatched to the homes of prominent figures. 

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