Probe into threats advancing

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Investigators are narrowing in on the source of threats that sparked an evacuation around the Blair County Courthouse and a water advisory in Hollidaysburg, according to police.

“Everything is under control,” Hollidaysburg Police Chief Jeffrey Ketner said Monday, a day after the Altoona Water Authority lifted a 48-hour advisory against consuming tap water in the Hollidaysburg area because of a “vague threat” and five days after an emailed bomb threat at the courthouse forced residents within a two-block area to evacuate when the county’s explosive sniffing dog hit on a suspicious package in the basement.

Both threats turned out to be unfounded.

“We are progressing,” Ketner said of the investigation. “We’re doing some forensic stuff on a couple of the computers with the help of the state police.”

Ketner said the investigation has pointed to an individual but declined to go into further detail.

It all started about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when someone sent emails to local media that contained a bomb threat at the courthouse. A bomb-detecting dog hit on a box in the building. A check by the Penn State University bomb squad found the box contained sound equipment. It’s believed residue left on the box, possibly by a delivery person who also handled ice melter, led the dog to alert on the box.

On Friday evening, the Altoona Water Authority put out an advisory recommending water customers in the Hollidaysburg area not drink their tap water after receiving what the authority called “a vague threat.”

The advisory was lifted Sunday evening after what was described as extensive field and laboratory testing by the authority and the Department of Environmental Protection showed no contamination.

Ketner said police will seek restitution from the party responsible for the threats.