A phoned-in bomb threat closed a Jewish community center in St. Louis Park, where an elementary school operates, and a search of the scene turned up nothing suspicious.

The threat was one of many made around the country Wednesday targeting Jewish institutions, St. Louis Park police said.

Once officials of the Sabes Jewish Community Center in the 4300 block of Cedar Lake Road learned of the threat shortly after 10 a.m., “the campus was safely evacuated” and closed, read the notice to the center’s community.

“Nothing of concern” was found in the nearly three hours that police and fire personnel were on the scene, along with bomb-sniffing dogs from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that inspected the building, said police spokeswoman Jacqueline Larson.

Instruction Wednesday night was canceled.

“The Police Department contacted federal authorities and was informed that similar threats occurred around the country in the last few hours at Jewish institutions,” Larson said.

“Somebody came in the room and said, ‘let’s go,’ ” said Lonny Goldsmith, an editor for the news website tcjewfolk.com, which operates from the Sabes center. “It was just a matter of time, with what is going on around in the country.”

Jeff Van Nest, an FBI spokesman in the Twin Cities, said federal authorities are aware of the threat and are investigating along with state and local partners. Van Nest said the FBI is not aware of additional threats made in Minnesota.

The 195,000-square-foot facility hosts events and classes, and includes a fitness center, early childhood center, and more.

According to the Jewish-oriented national news website forward.com, 18 Jewish community centers around the country received bomb threats Wednesday, with police responding to calls in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arizona, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), praised the quick response to threat.

“The JCRC is working in close cooperation with law enforcement and appreciates their quick response to this incident,” Hunegs said in a statement. “Please respect law enforcement as they continue to investigate this incident.”

 

Star Tribune staff writer Stephen Montemayor contributed to this report.