Willowbrook Mall bomb threat: Man who reported finding note charged
WAYNE — The man who reported to police he found a bomb threat in the Willowbrook Mall was charged with the threat on Tuesday, police say.
Wayne police spokesman Capt. Laurence Martin said that Anthony Vigilante, 56, of East Hanover, told a mall security officer around 8:25 p.m. Monday night he found a handwritten threat on a Post-It note claiming six bombs were planted around the mall. Vigilante told police he threw the note away.
An evacuation order was immediately issued and most employees and shoppers were evacuated within 10 minutes, according to Martin.
Martin said bomb sniffing dogs from the Passaic County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Bomb Squad searched the 200-store mall until midnight and found no bombs.
"A mall security officer screamed on top of his lung to immediately leave the mall," Bath & Body Works employee Sayra Mendez wrote on her Facebook page. "My associates, customers, and I ran for our lives not knowing what was going on, later to find out it was a bomb threat."
Martin said Vigilante had a "medical episode" during his initial interview with police and was taken to Chilton Medical Center. During his interview at the hospital, Vigilante was arrested and charged with creating false public alarm and widespread panic. He is being held by police pending a bail hearing.
Police said the evacuation was orderly but for a moment when three people stood on a table in the food court yelling "black lives matter!" They were not charged with any crime.
The Willowbrook Mall, with nearly 200 stores and restaurants is located on Route 23 near Routes 46 and 80.
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