Crime

Avila Beach bomb threat forces evacuations at hotel, beach

Law enforcement officers searched the Inn at Avila Beach after a man called in a bomb threat shortly before 5 p.m. Friday.
Law enforcement officers searched the Inn at Avila Beach after a man called in a bomb threat shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

Update, 8:40 p.m.

San Luis Obispo County law enforcement officials have found no explosive devices during an hourslong search Friday in Avila Beach that was prompted by a phoned-in bomb threat.

Hotel guests at the Inn at Avila Beach were evacuated, but eventually were allowed to return to their rooms after about 90 minutes, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

Following a beach evacuation, authorities noticed a drink cooler that had been left on the sand, Cipolla said. Waves at first swept the cooler into the ocean, but the cooler later was washed back onto the shore, he said. Cipolla said the cooler was the only object considered “suspicious,” and a bomb task force team was examining it. He said he wasn’t sure whether the cooler would be destroyed.

Cipolla said the investigation was continuing, and authorities were seeking to identify the person who called in the threats.

The threats were called in to the Pismo Beach Police Department shortly before 5 p.m.

“This is something that has disrupted a lot of people’s lives,” Cipolla said. “You never know if it’s some disgruntled employee or if it’s just somebody doing a prank.”

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, Cal Fire, CHP, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Port San Luis Harbor District and lifeguards assisted with this incident, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Original story:

Authorities are combing the sand at Avila Beach and a nearby hotel after a man called in a bomb threat shortly before 5 p.m. Friday.

“A man called the Pismo Beach Police Department at about 4:45 p.m. this afternoon and said he had planted two bombs at the Inn at Avila Beach and also planted another bomb on the beach itself,” said Tony Cipolla, a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office. The man said the bombs would go off in 35 minutes, Cipolla said.

Sheriff’s deputies, Cal Fire and the CHP all responded and evacuated the beach and the beachfront hotel on Front Street, Cipolla said. Deputies were searching the beach and the hotel but hadn’t found anything and no explosion had occurred, he said at about 5:45 p.m.

“Now we are in the process of clearing both areas to see if there are any suspicious devices or packages,” Cipolla said.

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