American Dream megamall and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, N.J. After more than 17 years in the making, it finally opened October 25, 2019. Then came the coronoavirus pandemic.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
New Jersey’s American Dream Mall – the second largest mall in the country – was briefly evacuated on Black Friday because of a bomb threat, according to the state’s governor.
“The @NJSP is investigating a bomb threat at the American Dream Mall,” Governor Phil Murphy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, just before 9 a.m. ET on Friday.
“If you’re on site, all customers, tenants, and employees should follow guidance from law enforcement and walk to the nearest exit and safely evacuate the building out of an abundance of caution,” he said.
A little over a half an hour later, Murphy said law enforcement determined there was “no imminent threat” to the mall. Police reopened it, allowing shoppers to go back in.
“The matter is still under investigation,” Murphy noted. “We will remain vigilant to ensure everyone stays safe this holiday season.”
Further details weren’t immediately clear. The New Jersey State Police and American Dream mall didn’t return requests for comment.
The evacuation comes on the largest shopping day of the year, when many Americans are expected to flood malls across the country in search of the best holiday deals. The shopping holiday poses unique risks to retailers because of the large crowds that it draws. In years past, fights have broken out between customers, and others were injured in stampedes.
Compounding the issue is the nationwide rise in mass shooting events, which have happened at a number of grocery stores and other retail establishments such as Walmart.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.