2005-12-16 / Community

Bomb Scare Closes Post Office For The Day

By Howard Schwach

The United States Post Office in Rockaway Beach was closed at noon on Saturday, December 12 when a male caller told a clerk that there was a bomb in the building, scheduled to go off in 20 minutes.

According to postal officials, the unidentified clerk picked up the ringing phone at about 11:40 a.m. on Saturday with the office at 90-14 Rockaway Beach Boulevard crowded with customers looking to mail their holiday packages.

“Is this the post office,” the male caller asked.

When assured that it was, the caller added, “”There’s a bomb in the building. It will go off in 20 minutes.”

He then hung up.

The supervisor called 911 and evacuated the building. Police officers from the 100 Precinct quickly responded, closing off the adjacent streets and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Anxious customers were told to go to the Rockaway Park Post Office on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 113 Street office.

Postal officials and police officers remained out of the building until the noon deadline had passed. Then, according to officials, Postmaster George Buonocore and a police sergeant went into the building and isolated some of the packages.

At about 12:30 p.m., postal inspectors arrived and “swept the building” for suspicious packages, according to postal officials. The search was negative, but it was decided to keep the building closed for the rest of the day.

As part of the investigation, postal inspectors checked all of the other post offices on the peninsula, but none of the others had received a bomb threat call.

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