Manitowoc County (WQOW)- Streets around the Manitowoc County Courthouse were shut down Wednesday night after a bomb threat was made, with a reference that alluded to justice for Steven Avery.
As of 10 p.m. all was clear at the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s office and courthouse after 911 dispatchers received two bomb threats Wednesday night, according to Manitowoc County Police Captain Larry Zimney.
At 6:37 p.m., 911 dispatch for Manitowoc County says a male phoned in a bomb threat targeting the Sheriff’s Office. The caller said there were “bombs in the building,” and that a vehicle in the Sheriff’s Office parking lot was “packed with explosives.”
The caller made a statement about getting “justice for Steven.” Authorities believe the caller was referencing Steven Avery.
Avery is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Teresa Halbach more than 10 years ago, but recently gained attention from the release of the Netflix documentary series, “Making a Murderer.”
A Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy and his sniffing K9 partner joined Manitowoc Police, Two Rivers Police, and the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s office in the response, sweeping for explosives.
After closing off area streets and checking the Sheriff’s Office and Courthouse, it was determined no devices were present and the scene was secured about two hours later, around 9 p.m.
Only 20 minutes later at 9:20 p.m., a second very similar call was again phoned in to the dispatch center, Zimney said. The caller again indicated there was a bomb in the Sheriff’s Office, and Zimney said the caller suggested there would be a “huge massacre.”
Manitowoc Police again responded to the scene and later determined that no suspicious activity or items were located in the areas outlined in the second threatening call.
It was first reported that the threat was directed at the courthouse, but later learned it was directed toward the Sheriff’s office and that the courthouse was secured as a precaution.
John Jagemann owner of the Courthouse Pub reported a large police presence around the courthouse and his business.
He closed his restaurant, which is across the street from the courthouse, around 7:30 p.m. because of the incident. Normally the business closes at 9 p.m.
The Manitowoc Police Department is currently working with members of the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation to trace the origin of the calls. They plan to prosecute the caller to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call police at (920) 686-6500.