WAYNE, NJ – A Morris County man faces charges after falsely reporting to security guards that a series of bombs would explode at the Willowbrook Mall Monday night.
Police charged Anthony R Vigilante , 56, of Morris County with creating a false public alarm and widespread panic after he approached mall security guards claiming to have a note stating that several bombs would detonate in the busy shopping complex, police said.
"We're going to arrest him, I have no doubt about that," Wayne Police Capt. Laurence W. Martin said. "This individual caused a lot of panic. You just can't do that."
Hundreds of shoppers raced for their lives, exiting the mall after Vigilante reportedly approached the security guards claiming he found a note stating a series of bombs were set to explode.
The Passaic County Sheriff's Bomb Squad did an initial cursory K-9 sweep of the evacuated mall and found nothing after the man approached a security guard around 8:30 p.m., a law enforcement source said.
Through the panic and the chaos, local municipalities were able to effectively work together and safely clear the area, the source said.
"The Sheriff's Office has a well trained and seasoned emergency response function," Wayne County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said. "Through it's Bomb Squad and K9 Units, the agency responds to bomb threats and other emergency around the clock.”
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