NEW HOPE, Pa. (CBS) — The FBI is getting involved in the investigation into a hoax that shut down portions of downtown New Hope Sunday.
It was believed that a man had barricaded himself inside of an apartment near South Main Street Sunday afternoon, but it turned out to be a hoax. The report prompted major police activity in the downtown area, with SWAT teams on site.
Police received the call around 4:30 p.m. that a gunman was inside a business on West Ferry Street.
“He said that he had shot his girlfriend and that he had a hostage and that he was going to, that he had an IED device that he was going to set off,” Police Chief Mike Cummings said.
Police spoke with the man for about an hour, but soon realized that the caller was lying and it was all a hoax.
“Our search team entered the building with robots and searched the building,” Chief Cummings said. “The conclusion was that no one was in the building at all.”
Police believe it may have been a “swatting” incident — the false reporting of a serious crime to draw a large police presence and SWAT teams to a location.
Police are now searching for the suspect.
“They were getting a lot of information from a live feed from one of the stores and that live feed made us believe that he was in that store at that time,” Chief Cummings said.
Police had requested all residents and businesses in the area to take shelter in place, closing off major areas of downtown. Mayor Larry Keller says about a thousand people were impacted.