This year’s Bach Festival was disrupted Friday afternoon as Carmel Police investigated a bomb threat at the Sunset Center in Carmel. At 12:18pm, a group of youth sat in the Sunset Center to hear a performance, when a 10-year-old audience member received a text message that read: “Bomb Planted. Pickup 6F Sunset Center. @ 3:50.”
Carmel Police Chief Paul Tomasi says the child quickly notified staff, and by 12:30pm, Carmel Police were on the scene investigating.
The Sunset Center was evacuated with just a few hours to go before a scheduled 7:30pm evening performance, “Guitar Hero.” Nearby homes were also evacuated as officials investigated.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Carmel Fire Department were also on the scene. Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Kathy Palazzolo says the bomb squad was sweeping the area, and Tomasi indicated they were still waiting for a bomb sniffing dog to join them from Paso Robles.
Tomasi says Carmel Police are still looking for a suspect. The phone number linked to the text message did not immediately correspond to a person. “It seems to be a spoof number,” Tomasi says. “We will have to do some more investigation.”
A one-block buffer area remained cordoned off as of 2:30 Friday afternoon. Tomasi hopes to have the area cleared in time for tonight’s show, and says there are plans for heightened security at subsequent events.
“It is an inconvenience to Bach Festival-goers, but we want to make sure everyone is safe,” Tomasi says. “It’s good the recipient alerted someone. It goes back to the old saying: If you see something, say something.”