A section of Rutland Road, from Highway 33 to Robson Road, was shut down as police investigated a bomb threat received by Interior Savings Credit Union Friday morning.
By Monday morning local RCMP were calling the call a hoax.
In a press release, RCMP said “Apparently an unknown man called the branch and threatened to detonate a bomb that was somewhere inside the building.”
“After considerable effort searching inside and out, no trace of explosives were found. After just more than three hours from the initial complaint, the building was deemed safe and the road was reopened,” the press release said.
The bank received the threat in a telephone conversation around 11 a.m.
“We’re not sure of the legitimacy of that threat as of this point, but we’re investigating it as if it were a real scenario,” Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark said Friday.
Neighbouring businesses, including the Salvation Army across the street, were also evacuated as a precaution, said Clark.
Zod, the only bomb-sniffing police dog in the area, was brought in to do a sweep of the building. The canine went into the building for 20 minutes at a time to sniff out the area.
According to Clark, searching for explosives is a longer process for the dog than searching for drugs or other contraband. Twenty minute sessions are required so the dog can take breaks and remain calm.
The building and the area will remain evacuated until Zod and his handler have done an “extensive” sweep and declared the area safe.
“We’ve consulted with the Explosive Disposal Unit from Vancouver. If anything suspicious is found, they’ll certainly be attending.”
Clark said Mounties are required to take any bomb complaint seriously.
“We have to act as if this is a real situation until it’s proven otherwise.”
He didn’t know exactly how many Mounties were on the scene Friday afternoon, but noted: “If this is not a legitimate complaint, then it’s certainly a large expense for a hoax.”
By Monday police were focusing their investigation towards identifying the suspect.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. You can also leave a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by text at CRIMES (274637) ktown.