PITTSBURGH, PA — (07-25-22) — Authorities are continuing their investigation into Two LGBTQ businesses that received bomb threats early Saturday. When police arrived on scene at both businesses, they said they found no immediate danger to the establishments after searching them.
P Town Bar located at 4740 Baum Blvd in Bloomfield and Club Pittsburgh, a private club in the Strip District located at 1139 Penn Ave, received calls shortly before 1 a.m., according Maurice Matthews, a police spokesman.
The P Town Bar was evacuated after receiving the bomb threat. Pittsburgh police arrived on scene with a K-9 unit and searched the area for 30 minutes before it was determined to be safe.
Mr. Matthews of the Pittsburgh police department added that officials were investigating the source of the call.
Police also searched Club Pittsburgh and cleared the area of danger within 30 minutes. Mr. Matthews said he was unable to give details about the incident, but said the investigation was ongoing.
Pittsburgh’s FBI office spokesperson Catherine Policicchio added that they were aware of the threats.
According to Garry Altavilla, co-owner of the P Town Bar, said that the bomb threat came in a telephone call between 12:30 and 1 a.m.
“Listen carefully, there is a bomb planted in the back of the tank of the toilet in stall No. 2. And it will be detonated when the lid is taken off,” said Mr. Altavilla on Saturday.
Altavilla added that 40 patrons who were partying at the bar on Friday were evacuated before police searched the building. They also shut down traffic on Baum Boulevard between Morewood and Melwood avenues.
Because two of P Town Bar’s three restrooms have just one stall, and the bar’s security team did not report anybody carrying a backpack or large purse, Mr. Altavilla was immediately suspicious of the bomb threat.
He said a bartender on Thursday also received two calls with what appeared to be a pre-recorded message that contained homophobic and racial slurs.
The bar is set to open for regular business Saturday night.
“We’ll be open again at 5 p.m., and if we get another phone call, we’ll certainly pass it to the police,” sai8d Altavilla.
“The bar will increase security on Saturday by checking bags and disallowing backpacks, something they haven’t done before,” said Mr. Altavilla
LGBTQ Americans continue to be on edge over the rising threats and violence against them. A report released in June by ACLED, a global nonprofit that monitors conflicts, said anti-LGBTQ activity increased more than four times between 2020 and 2021.
So far 33 anti-LGBTQ incidents have taken place in 2022. In May, President Joe Biden issued a statement warning of “rising hate and violence” against the LGBT community.
“It’s surprising to me, because in the 15-and-a-half years that we’ve been open, we’ve never had something like this happen before,” added Mr. Altavilla. “Hopefully it’s a one time thing.” said Altavilla.
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Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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