Snellville theater cleared after bomb threat

SNELLVILLE — Police checked and cleared a Snellville cinema after a bomb threat Friday morning caused alarm in several states.

Authorities responded to the Carmike 12 Cinema at 1905 Ga. Highway 124 in Snellville at 10:45 a.m. after a threat was made to the company’s home office in Columbus, officials said.

The theater had yet to open for the day, and no evacuations were necessary. Police located nothing suspicious during searches and allowed the theater to open, said Snellville police Chief Roy Whitehead.

“Corporate asked that all theaters be checked,” Whitehead said.

Media reports indicate the theater searches spread across metro Atlanta, including a cinema in Barrow County, and to several other states. No injuries or suspicious materials have been reported.

Carmike spokesman Terrell Mayton said company officials alerted the FBI after discovering the threat in a voicemail message Friday morning. He said the call was placed afterhours Thursday by someone claiming to work for a contractor that provides janitorial services to Carmike.

Mayton said the call threatened specific theaters, but he could not say how many or in what states. News outlets reported police searches in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina.

The threats reportedly mentioned “The Expendables 2,” a movie featuring aging action stars that opened Friday.

Barrow County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Matt Guthas said deputies evacuated employees at a Carmike Cinema in Bethlehem as a precautionary measure, prior to opening the cinema to the public.

“Nothing of a suspicious nature was found,” Guthas said. “This matter is currently under investigation by the Barrow

County Sheriff’s Office and other cooperating agencies.”

Mayton said most theaters in all states were cleared before their first show times Friday.

Theaters across the country upped security in the wake of the July 20 massacre at a late-night screening of “The Dark Night Rises” in Colorado.

An official with Carmike, the nation’s fourth-largest cinema circuit, told the Los Angeles Times the shooting did not warrant an overhaul of security procedures, as current procedures are effective, the official said.

In Columbus, the Ledger-Inquirer newspaper reported that a 23-year-old man was arrested Thursday night trying to carry a pistol concealed in a computer bag into a screening of “The Expendables 2” at another Carmike Cinema. Authorities don’t believe that suspect made the bomb threats, the newspaper reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.