Bomb Threat Called in at First Federal Bank Downtown

Reported By: Lee Peck

The weekend came early this Friday for employees of First Federal's downtown Lake Charles branch as a bomb threat shut down the bank.

"We have our dogs in there now, they're methodically going through the building to make sure it's safe to go back in the building," said Captain Doug Poole with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office.

The bank's employees and customers were evacuated to the street after authorities were notified Friday morning by a bank employee who received the bomb threat on a voice mail, called in around 8 o'clock Thursday night.

"It's sad... I think it's sad that the world has come to this," said Abbie Deshotel.

"It's very scary, for that to be going on... I don't even feel safe now. What if we would have been in the building? Anything could have happened," said LeKisha Green.

While their search produced no explosives, investigators are now looking through the bank's phone records to trace the caller -- a task Sheriff's Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory says can be a challenge.

"Especially if it's a business and they get a lot of phone calls because no two clocks are the same. You may get the call at 3 o'clock but the telephone company time may be 2:55. So there's always a challenge blocking off a certain amount of time and then working to see where the call came from," said Guillory.

Guillory says every caller in that blocked off time is a potential suspect and can expect to hear from investigators.

Again what makes this particular case different than other bomb threats, the caller left a voice mail -- so that will play a key role in identifying the suspect. Criminal penalties for calling in a false bomb threat are up to 20 years of hard labor.

Other Lake Charles First Federal branches closed early Friday afternoon. They are scheduled to re-open Monday.