Six San Diego-area synagogues were among scores of Jewish religious facilities statewide whose daily operations were disrupted Tuesday by false bomb threats, authorities reported.
According to Bill Ganley, community security director for the Jewish Federation of San Diego, a group email sent to 91 facilities total across California shortly before 7 a.m. on Jan. 2 specifically targeted the places of worship.
The note stated that explosives had been planted at the various sites and would detonate “soon,” according to Ganley and Lt. Zheath Sanchez of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Law enforcement searches of the temples turned up no reported hazards.
The local institutions victimized by the hoax were Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, Congregation Etz Chaim in Ramona, Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, Temple Emanu-El in San Diego, Temple Etz Rimon in Carlsbad and Temple Solel in Encinitas.
A staff member at Temple Solel on Manchester Avenue in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea neighborhood made an emergency call shortly after 8:30 a.m. to report the synagogue’s preschool receiving the menacing message via email, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The note, later determined to be a bogus bomb threat, stated that explosives had been planted at the temple and would detonate “soon,” Lt. Zheath Sanchez said.
Authorities evacuated the synagogue, which includes a preschool, and deputies searched the buildings and grounds with service dogs, finding nothing hazardous. The personnel gave an all-clear shortly after 10 a.m., the lieutenant said.
No suspects in the crime have been identified.
The FBI has taken charge of the case, Ganley said. No suspects had been publicly identified as of Tuesday evening.
Such anti-Semitic terrorist threats have been on the rise, Ganley noted. Between Dec. 13 and New Year’s Day, more than 700 were reported to the Secure Community Network, a Jewish security organization that works with hundreds of synagogues across the United States, he said.