Police cordon off the area in front of the Apple Store on Prince St. around 2:10 p.m. after having cleared the sidewalk. Photos by Sam Spokony
ORIGINALLY POSTED, Fri., Dec. 27 | BY LINCOLN ANDERSON AND SAM SPOKONY | The crowded Apple Store, at the busy intersection of Prince and Greene Sts. in Soho, was evacuated today, Fri., Dec. 27, due to a bomb threat.
According to Detective Marc Nell, a New York Police Department spokesperson, police received a 911 call from the Apple Store at 1:32 p.m. reporting that it had received a telephoned bomb threat. Police put out a radio call and an officer who actually happened to be in the store right then using the bathroom got the message on his radio. The officer quickly went to the store’s office and was able to speak to the man who was making the threat, who was still on the line. Nell said police didn’t have more details to divulge about the contents or length of the phone call.
However, after a search of the store, police determined that it was a hoax.
After receiving the threat, the popular Apple outlet — jam-packed with post-Christmas shoppers — based on the decision of its staff, was quickly cleared of customers.
Paul Schindler, editor of Gay City News, a sister paper of The Villager, was in the place getting a free one-hour tutorial that came with his recent purchase of a new computer.
Schindler said that, around 1:40 p.m., he noticed some commotion and everyone starting to head toward the door, and asked a red-shirted Apple Store staffer what was going on. The employee calmly told him he had to exit the location right away. Schindler noticed other staffers telling people to leave immediately.
Police arrived at the scene and, according to Schindler, were extremely intent on making sure the sidewalk was cleared directly in front of the Apple Store, which has large glass doors and windows on Prince St. But, he noted, police didn’t seem concerned that people were standing on the sidewalk outside the building on Greene St., which does have windows, but which are blocked off with displays.
Police block off and guard the entrance to the Soho Apple Store following the bomb threat.
There were dozens of police on the scene, including plainclothes officers, and several police cars. Officers cordoned off the area in front of the store with yellow police tape about 2:10 p.m. Shortly before that, westbound traffic on Prince St. was blocked off at Mercer St., though Greene St. was left open.
Eventually, police also cleared the sidewalk opposite the store on the south side of Prince St., as well.
Police at the scene didn’t specify what the security threat may have been.
One officer, when asked what was going on by a Villager reporter, responded, “I don’t need to tell you, you know what’s happening.”
Reached for comment at around 2:30 p.m., a Police Department spokesperson said he didn’t have any information to report on the Apple Store incident.
Reached at 5 p.m. for an update, a different spokesperson, Detective Nell, confirmed there had been a phony bomb threat. He said employees re-entered the store at 2:50 p.m., and that shoppers likely re-entered shortly after then.
Five days ago there was a bomb threat called in to an Apple Store in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. A bomb squad responded and investigated, found it was a hoax, and the store reopened in 35 minutes. Asked if there was any connection between the Boston and Soho Apple Store incidents, Nell said he couldn’t say at this point.
Before police cordoned off the sidewalk in front of the store, an officer directed pedestrians away from the location.