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Bomb scare rocks Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights • Brooklyn Paper

Bomb scare rocks Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights

On alert: Gov. Cuomo meets with Jewish Children’s Museum founder Deborah Halberstam, who created the museum in honor of her slain son Ari, following a bomb threat at the Crown Heights institution on March 9.
Photo by Paul Martinka

Someone sent a bomb threat to the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights on Thursday, prompting police to evacuate the building while they hunted for explosives that, fortunately, never materialized.

Staff received an alarming e-mail threatening a coordinated pipe-bomb attack at 8:45 am, and moved quickly to clear out the Eastern Parkway museum, according to police.

The letter-writer claimed he had previously worked with a crew that planted the explosives, but had since had a crisis of conscience.

“I recently cleared my mind and I want to prevent the bombing attack this bombing attack for [sic] taking place by notifying you,” he wrote. “I do not want to see innocent children die from this attack.”

Investigators scoured the building and surrounding area for more than four hours, but turned up empty handed and gave the all-clear just after 1 pm, cops said.

The museum was built as a memorial to Ari Halberstam, the 16-year-old who was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire on a van of Hasidic students the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994, and Gov. Cuomo noted that the threat flew in the face of everything the institution stands for.

“This is one of the cruelest ironies yet in this rash of anti-Semitism that we’ve been experiencing,” said the governor, who visited following a press conference he’d been holding at nearby Medgar Evers College. “This is a museum that is a monument to tolerance.”

The threat comes of the heels of several others against Jewish gathering places and institutions around the city over the past few weeks.

Cops arrested a St. Louis man on March 3 for allegedly threatening numerous Jewish centers, including several in New York City, as part of a weeks-long smear campaign against a former lover, but police believe most of the threats around the country have been made by one person using sophisticated technology to disguise his voice and location.

A rash of bomb threats also rocked Brooklyn schools last week, with calls made to Midwood High School, the John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope, and Crown Heights’ Clara Barton High School.

In each case, the schools were evacuated and subsequently cleared after investigators found no evidence of explosives.

Cops are investigating any possible connections between the bomb threats targeting Jews, according to a police spokesman.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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