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Police evacuate 100 people following commercial bomb threat

There's little room for excitement while waiting in line at a fast food restaurant. That is unless you're 11 years old and police descend on the location and start clearing the building because of a bomb threat.

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There's little room for excitement while waiting in line at a fast food restaurant. That is unless you're 11 years old and police descend on the location and start clearing the building because of a bomb threat.

"My Papa and me were watching as policemen came and started telling everyone to leave because a bomb might be in the McDonald's," Parker Sayler, a fifth-grader at Jefferson Elementary, said. "We didn't get our food and had to leave. It was scary."

The Dickinson Police Department responded on Sunday to the McDonalds on 212 Museum Dr., following a bomb threat made via phone to the McDonald's staff from a male caller on a blocked phone line. The initial report indicated an explosive device was left under the seat of a table inside the building.

Employees, staff and patrons were cleared from the building safely. In total, officers successfully evacuated approximately 100 people from the immediate area as they continued a manual search of the business for a bomb or bomb-making materials.

"Our officers have basic training which teaches them what to do and what not to do when searching for a bomb, like look with your eyes, not your hands; don't touch any items found; phones and radios off; etc.," David Wilkie, a captain with the Dickinson Police Department, said. "We train for scene control, evacuations, controlling the perimeter, etc. The training applies to many incidents and can be utilized without the need for drastic change depending on the scenario."

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According to witnesses, Dickinson Police Department were quick and professional in their handling of the situation.

"They did a fantastic job. I saw three police officers come in and I thought they were going to order food, but when they walked to the back behind the counter I knew something was going on," Rachel Zander, a patron of the establishment, said. "After they came back out from behind the counter they started telling people to get out, and I overheard the McDonald employees being told to head to Mavericks."

Zander said she was unaware of what actually happened until later in the afternoon when DPD posted the information on their social media.

"Thank goodness it wasn't anything serious, but just the thought of something like that happening here in Dickinson is concerning."

McDonald's closed for business while officers began clearing the building at 12:11 p.m. Officers concluded their initial investigation and clearing of the building, finding nothing suspicious. McDonald's reopened for business at 12:45 p.m.

Dickinson EMS and Fire were staged nearby during the incident. The Stark County Sheriff's Department assisted with traffic control. According to DPD Spokesperson, Captain David Wilkie, the incident remains under investigation, although no explosive devices were found.

According to the North Dakota Century Code, a person is guilty of a class C felony if, with the intent to place another human being in fear for that human being's or another's safety, they threaten to commit any crime of violence or act dangerous to human life; or falsely informs another that a situation is dangerous to human life or commission of a crime of violence when they know that the information is false.

Anyone with information about the bomb threat is encouraged to call the Dickinson Police Department at 701-456-7759. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling/texting the relaunched Badlands Crime Stoppers at 701-840-6108.

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