Naval base hit by another phony bomb threat

Posted at 2:26 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 17:31:40-04

For the 16th time since last fall, an unfounded bomb threat prompted a security alert and search at Naval Base San Diego Wednesday.

The written message was found on Pier 7 at the Barrio Logan-area station about 10:15 a.m., according to the Navy.

Military police conducted a sweep of the area, finding nothing hazardous, said Helen Haase, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Southwest. The investigators gave an all-clear shortly before 11:30 a.m., Haase said.

For six months, the Navy installation on the eastern side of San Diego Harbor and two adjacent shipyards have been beset by bogus bomb threats.

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All of the messages have been found scrawled inside portable outhouses used by workers, as was the case this morning, or on walls of ships. Though most have been cryptic and vague -- consisting of only a few words, including "bomb," and a date -- the notes have caused considerable disruption.

The threats cause work stoppages and operations disruptions, according to the Navy, and pull a large number of Navy first responders, NCIS personnel, and SD Harbor Police from their normal duties. Reaction to the bomb threats also extends beyond the shipyards, creating the possibility of operational delays that impact nation defense.

"Threats of this nature are serious offenses requiring a significant response from law enforcement and enhancement to our force-protection measures," said Gunnar Newquist, special agent in charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's Southwest Field Office.

"We are committed to protecting the lives of these workers and the property of the United States government," Newquist said. "We continue to work this investigation with full confidence in identifying and prosecuting (whoever is) responsible to the fullest extent possible."

NCIS officials and the shipyards where some of  the messages have turned up, BAE Systems and General Dynamics NASSCO, have posted a combined $10,000 reward for information leading to one or more arrests in the case.

Anyone with information about the threats is asked to call the NCIS at (619) 556-1364. To anonymously text tip information to authorities, send a text to 274637 (CRIMES). Type "NCIS" at the beginning of the text, then type and send the message, including as much information as possible.