The Williams Lake RCMP were called to 7-Eleven on Proctor Street at about 7 p.m. Thursday after receiving reports of a bomb threat.
Although no bomb or similar device was observed, police took the precaution of evacuating the 7-Eleven and neighbouring premises.
The Williams Lake Fire Department also assisted at the scene.
After a thorough search of the building and the immediate area with the assistance of a police dog, the incident was determined to be a hoax.
RCMP continue their investigation in efforts to identify the culprit who initiated the threat.
The RCMP say they take such threats as extremely serious and intend to criminally charge those who are involved, whether the reports are false or otherwise.
“This is a very poor and unfortunate use of emergency resources as well as the inconvenience it causes to businesses and the community as a whole,” police say.
Chris Grant, staff member of Movies on the Go, was working the night the threat was made.
“A member walked in the door and said everybody was going to have to leave and I said OK, and she said there had been a bomb threat at 7-Eleven, and that we are just too close in our store for comfort for them,” Grant said.
Customers in the store heard what the officer said and began filing out the door.
“I locked the doors and got done as quickly as I could and made sure everything was secure and out the door I went,” Grant said, adding police had taped off the area and employees from neighbouring businesses were also outside by then. “They emptied out us, they emptied out Red Tomato Pies, 7-Eleven. I am not sure how far they went back behind because, to be honest with you, I just got out of there. It all happened really quickly.”
Grant adds he didn’t take the bomb threat too seriously because he is “from the city where they get them all of the time.”
Police had also received a report of a bomb at Columneetza secondary last Thursday, Feb. 16, causing the school’s dance to be closed. That threat also turned out to be a hoax.
The school Grant attended on the Coast received bomb threats frequently when he was growing up.
“It’s a little sad if kids think they get a rush out of it, but who knows for sure? I didn’t take it too, too seriously.”
Anyone with knowledge or who is aware of anyone involved in this or similar incidents is strongly encouraged to contact the Williams Lake RCMP to assist them in their investigation by calling them at 250-392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).