Watch CBS News

NYC synagogue bomb threats found to be fake, officials say. Investigators now searching for who sent them.

NYC synagogues on alert following weekend bomb threats
NYC synagogues on alert following weekend bomb threats 01:42

NEW YORK -- Multiple bomb threats were made against synagogues in New York City on Saturday, according to the New York City Police Department. 

New York officials said the threats were unfounded, and investigators are working to find whoever was responsible.

Schumer and Rep. Jerry Nadler held a press conference Sunday morning, saying they had spoken with the FBI about the ongoing investigation. 

"I asked them to make every effort to track down who did this," Schumer said. "It's hard to do, because those who do it can often hide where their email is coming from, where their phone calls are coming from, in either case. But the FBI has had good success, it takes time, and they are able to track many of these bad people who do this kind of activity down and then go after them."

Bomb threats reported at NYC synagogues

The NYPD told CBS New York that multiple bomb threats were made Saturday against synagogues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Police said at two of the incidents were reported in Manhattan, including one at Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side and another at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah on West 30th Street. Police initially reported a third location in Manhattan, but later removed it from the list. 

Another bomb threat was also reported at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on Remsen Street.

All of the locations that were threatened received emails claiming there were explosives inside their buildings or nearby, according to police.

Congregation Rodeph Sholom Executive Director Barbara Zakin said in a message sent to congregants that the NYPD evacuated their building as a precaution and conducted a search.

In addition to the synagogues, police said an email was sent to the Brooklyn Museum threatening to blow up the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum subway station. The MTA said an unusual package was reported outside the station, but service was not affected.

New York officials respond to synagogue bomb threats

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul posted Saturday on social media, saying she was "actively monitoring" the situation.

"Threats have been determined not to be credible, but we will not tolerate individuals sowing fear & antisemitism. Those responsible must be held accountable for their despicable actions," she wrote.

The Manhattan Borough President called the pattern of threats a hate crime and said there is a growing trend of "swatting," when individuals report fake emergencies to authorities, targeting Jewish institutions.

Schumer spoke Sunday about the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides money for synagogues and other houses of worship to hire security guards and install things like cameras, fencing and stronger windows.

"The second I heard about the threats, your heart sinks, you hope it's a hoax. And in this case, thank God, it was," he said. "But that doesn't [negate] the fear, the trauma when synagogues and other houses of worship have to be evacuated. The fear and trauma when they have to be evacuated stays with the congregants, and people who go the next day wonder, 'Is it going to happen again, am I safe?'"

The deadline to apply for the funding on the federal level is May 21.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.