Four banks in the region received bomb threats Wednesday in connection with attempted robberies.
A Luzerne County 911 supervisor confirmed that reports of bomb threats “for the place(s) to be robbed” were received from two banks by 911 on Wednesday afternoon.
Another 911 supervisor said the calls were received from the PNC Bank at 650 Main St. in Avoca at 12:33 p.m. and from the PNC Bank at 501 Wyoming Ave. in West Pittston at 2:08 p.m.
That supervisor said Luzerne County detectives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating.
Messages left at the Avoca and West Pittston police departments were not immediately returned.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis referred comment to the FBI.
FBI spokeswoman Carrie Adamowski said via email that the FBI has opened an investigation into threats in connection with the two bank branches, “but since it’s ongoing, won’t be able to comment.”
Two banks in Lackawanna County also received robbery-related bomb threats Wednesday afternoon, WNEP-TV’s Newswatch 16 reported.
The manager at the Wells Fargo Bank on Meadow Avenue in Scranton took a call in which a man told the manager there were bombs surrounding the bank and then followed up with instructions. “That he was to put as much money in a bag as possible and put the bag at the side door. And once he did that he would remove the explosives,” Scranton Police Capt. Glenn Thomas told WNEP.
Thomas told the news station that the manager did not follow those directions and instead called police.
WNEP also reported that a call with identical instructions was made to the People’s Security Bank less than a mile away on Cedar Avenue in Scranton, and then, about a half hour later, to the PNC Bank on Main Street in Avoca.
Police told the news station that the perpetrators are difficult to catch because they use throwaway cellphones to avoid detection.
Scranton police also told WNEP there’s a strong possibility that the bomb threats are related to a series of others made in Scranton earlier this month — one at the Gerrity’s supermarket next to the Wells Fargo bank and another at a bank in Throop.
A Scranton police lieutenant did not return a message from a Times Leader reporter left on Wednesday afternoon.