Tunnel bomb threat drained police resources, money

A combination of nearly 10 law enforcement and emergency services agencies responded to a bomb threat that closed the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel for more than four hours Thursday.

Inspector Rick Facciolo of the Windsor Police Service led the investigation of the Canadian side.

He said 18 of the department’s officers responded. Two members of the bomb squad were called in on overtime.

Facciolo said the total money spent on the response isn’t known yet.

“We do have an idea. But you can imagine the cost of deploying 18 officers to one location and the loss of revenue to the tunnel corporation,” Facciolo said. “They are sufficient enough to cause some concern for us.

“It takes away from serving other portions of our community. It tied up a large number of resources and that’s not acceptable to us.”

Facciolo said a high concentration of officers in one place also puts the public at risk because there are less to respond to other incidents.

At 12:30 p.m. someone called the Tunnel Duty Free Shop and said there was a bomb inside the 1.5-kilometre tunnel that services up to 2,000 cars an hour and can have 600 people working various jobs at one time.

Facciolo called it “an international incident.”

“Calls were being made all the way up to Ottawa and into Washington, as well,” he said.

Police want the public's help in their investigation of the bomb threat. They want to hear from anyone who saw someone use a Bell payphone on the east side of Goyeau Avenue, just north of the Ontario Tourist Information Bureau parking lot.

Police said the threat was called in from that phone at approximately 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Windsor Police spokesperson Sgt. Matt D’Asti said investigators are reviewing surveillance from a security camera at a Tim Horton's in the area.

Facciolo said the suspect faces a public mischief charge.

“Due to the amount of money that was spent, the number of agencies involved and resources used, it’s going to be a severe charge. We would be seeking indictment in this case, due to the severity of the event,” Facciolo said. “We’re taking a very strong stance on this. The individual needs to consider what he did and turn himself in.”

Facciolo praised his officers and said they executed to perfection a plan they practised in May.

“[Thursday] was a good example of how we should deploy our personnel. It went exceptionally well,” he said. “I don’t seen anywhere that improvements could be made.”

Facciolo said Windsor Police are going to debrief with the Canada Border Services Agency and tunnel corporation.

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