Several Target locations across the country experienced evacuations on Friday due to bomb threats as controversy continues to grow over the company’s LGBTQ+ merchandise.
An email sent to CBS News affiliate WOIO in Cleveland, Ohio, at 12:26 p.m. on Friday alerted authorities about bombs allegedly placed in five Target stores near the city.
The email, which criticized Target for catering to homophobic individuals, expressed a refusal to tolerate such behavior.
“Target is full of…cowards who turned their back on the LGBT community and decided to cater to the homophobic right wing redneck bigots who protested and vandalized their store,” read the email. “We won’t stand idly by as the far right continues to hunt us down.”
According to a release from the Jackson Township Police Department, calls were made to police dispatch around 12:40 p.m. from WOIO and another news affiliate, WEWS, regarding a potential bomb threat at a Target store in their county. Law enforcement officials, accompanied by a bomb-sniffing dog, conducted a thorough search of the store in Jackson Township but found no explosives. Operations at the location resumed later in the afternoon.
The bomb threats were not limited to Cleveland, as WOIO also reported similar threats at four other Target locations in Boardman and Niles, Ohio, as well as Monaca, Pennsylvania. Utah also experienced bomb threats at several Target stores, including Layton, Salt Lake, Taylorsville, and Provo, according to CBS News affiliate KUTV.
Target stores nationwide were hit with bomb threats today. This is terrorism. pic.twitter.com/3eW5ZGYjI2
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) May 27, 2023
Investigations were initiated by local law enforcement after two news stations received emails mentioning the bomb threats and Target’s pride collection. The threatening email, consisting of three sentences, referenced the removal of the merchandise and was traced back to a false email address.
In response to the bomb threats, a Target spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to the safety of its team members and customers.
“The safety of our team members and guests is our top priority,” a Target spokesperson told Newsweek on Friday when asked about the recent bomb threats. “Law enforcement investigated these claims and determined our stores are safe. Our stores are currently open and operating regular hours.”
Law enforcement authorities conducted thorough investigations and determined that the stores were secure, allowing them to resume regular operations.