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Bomb threat closes U.S. 11, business

November 25, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A section of U.S. 11 near Berkeley Plaza was closed to traffic Sunday afternoon after a man made a bomb threat against a store in the shopping center, said Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith.

When the man made the threat over the telephone, he said a business in the Berkeley Plaza known as the Flea Market would be blown up at 5:30 p.m., Smith said.

The Flea Market was shut down and a bomb-sniffing dog from the federal Internal Revenue Service was brought in to search the store, Smith said.

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Nothing was found, and the handler of the dog told police he was "99 percent" sure there was no bomb inside, Smith said.

As a precautionary measure, no one could drive in the parking lot in front of the business between 5 and 6 p.m. and a section of U.S. 11 near the store was closed during that period, Smith said.

Smith said it is believed the threat, which was made about 12:48 p.m., was related to a domestic situation. He said he did not know who made the threat, but would try to identify the person by tracing the phone call.

Police searched for the bomb as people drove in and out of the plaza. Members of reserve units for the sheriff's department parked their cars together and stood outside the former Heilig-Myers furniture store.

People were driving to and from a movie theater complex in the plaza as police were cordoning off the area around the Flea Market at about 5 p.m.

Smith said police have to be thorough when such threats are made.

"You have to take all these ... seriously," Smith said.

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