Bomb Threat Delays Bon Jovi Concert


April 27, 2008

A bomb threat forced a three-hour evacuation of a Bon Jovi concert Saturday night at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise as authorities swept the massive arena for explosives.

The threat turned out to be a hoax, courtesy of someone calling from a cell phone with only 911 capabilities, authorities said. It was unclear if Sunrise police had any suspects. Police did not return numerous messages and pages seeking information Saturday evening.

Sunrise police received the threat sometime around 6 p.m. from a caller saying they would blow up the arena with two bombs at 7:57 p.m., said Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu. She said the police had several bomb-sniffing dogs sweeping the arena.

“We are taking this very seriously to ensure the safety of all concertgoers,” Alu said.

Ed Levick, 40, of Boynton Beach, went to the concert with his wife and two friends. They found themselves at first blocked from entering the parking lot by security, but they were eventually let in.

“They opened up the gates at 6:30, and they told us we had to stay in our cars,” Levick said.

He said security closed the parking lot again around 7 p.m. and made an announcement about what was going on.

“They said there was a credible threat and that it would be one to two hours,” he said.

By the time 7:30 p.m. rolled around — the time at which the opening band Daughtry was supposed to begin playing — Levick wondered if it wouldn’t be better to reschedule the show, especially if it meant they might see only abbreviated performances.

“Everybody’s here, everybody’s waiting, everybody’s talking,” Levick said. “People are wondering why they aren’t rescheduling and giving refunds.”

At 8:50 p.m., a cheer erupted from the concertgoers as they were slowly allowed to walk to the arena to enter. But the line was painfully slow to get inside, Levick said.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. “They should have canceled.”

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