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Several Libraries in the Chicago Area Face Bomb Threats


CHICAGO, IL – Numerous libraries in the Chicago area, including Addison, Aurora, and Evanston, were targeted by bomb threats on Tuesday. Thankfully, these threats were later determined to be false. These unsettling incidents occurred as lawmakers in Capitol Hill debated book bans in schools and libraries, with Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testifying before the U.S. Senate.

The threats prompted evacuations and police responses across the city and suburbs. Some threats were communicated via email, while others were sent through online chats.

Inside Chicago’s largest library, an anonymous email triggered alarm, claiming a bomb was present within the Harold Washington Library. Subsequently, the Bomb Squad and K9 units conducted a thorough search, finding no credible threat. Chicago Public Libraries declined to comment as the matter is now under police investigation.

In Aurora, authorities responded to three public library branches—the Santori Public Library, the West Branch, and the Eola Branch—and ordered evacuations. After extensive searches, police concluded that the threats were a “hoax.”

In Addison, police were alerted to a bomb threat at the Addison Public Library on Friendship Plaza. As a precaution, both the village and library campuses were closed to the public. The DuPage County Bomb Squad conducted a comprehensive search, ultimately deeming the threat baseless.

In Evanston, police received reports of a bomb threat at the Evanston Public Library on Orrington Avenue. Although no substantiated threat was discovered, the Cook County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad was called to the scene, and the building was evacuated, with a cautionary advisory to avoid the area.

The Schaumburg Township District Library also received a bomb threat in an online chat, leading to an evacuation and closure. Normal operations are set to resume on Wednesday after police found nothing suspicious.

Similar incidents unfolded at libraries in Hanover Park and Streamwood, all ultimately determined to be false threats.

Reports also suggested that additional threats were made to other libraries in the Chicago area, making this an ongoing investigation.

Det. Rich Wistocki of BeSure Consulting commented on these incidents, stating, “When these hoaxes come in like this, we call it a terrorist threat or causing a catastrophe.” He further noted that individuals involved in such hoaxes, often motivated by financial gain, can use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to obscure their identities. However, cybersecurity experts from FOX 32 Chicago emphasized that even VPN users can be traced.

Wistocki explained that these threats often originate from within the U.S. but are routed through foreign VPNs, making them harder to trace. For example, the messaging service Telegram, which has been used in recent local swatting incidents, is based in the United Arab Emirates and does not cooperate with law enforcement investigations.

Offenders, if convicted, could face sentences ranging from 10 to 30 years in prison.



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