Bomb threats, hoaxes, wearing thin on San Antonio police

Bomb threat at Menger Hotel caused evacuations, street closures downtown

SAN ANTONIO - Hoaxes like a bomb threat at the Menger Hotel that forced streets near The Alamo to be closed Wednesday morning must stop, San Antonio police said.

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Police spokesman Sgt. Javier Salazar said a manager at the front desk of the hotel received the threatening phone call around 6:15 a.m.

"That there was at least one bomb inside the hotel," Salazar said. "The manager called for evacuations. He had the guests go to another part of the hotel that was deemed safe."

The manager told KSAT 12 News that the caller told a hotel employee that there was a bomb in a 10th floor restaurant of the hotel. The manager said the Menger Hotel does not have a 10th floor. Still, he said, the threat had to be taken seriously.

"We called the police, and the whole thing was taken care of in about 15 minutes," the manager, who didn't want to identified, said. "We already have a plan for things like bomb threats, hurricanes and earthquakes. Everything went fine."

Outside the hotel, police shut down streets surrounding the hotel as well as a park near The Alamo while the bomb unit, equipped with dogs, searched the property. At around 8 a.m., police gave the all-clear.

"No suspicious packages. Nothing suspicious was visually located," Salazar said.

What happened at the Menger Hotel, though, is only one of several similar incidents in San Antonio recently.

On Aug. 2, someone phoned in a threat about a bomb at San Antonio International Airport, causing passengers to be grounded for hours.

On Aug. 7, a hoax caller disrupted business at the Gunter Hotel on East Houston Street downtown, also with a bomb threat.

Salazar said it's unclear if any of the calls are related, but he said the hoaxes must stop before someone gets hurt.

"If it's a game, it's certainly not a funny game to play," Salazar said. "It does put people in fear for their life, for their safety."

Anyone caught making bomb threats faces serious charges, Salazar said. In some cases, federal charges can be filed.

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