Bomb Threat Called into GOP ‘Roast and Ride’ Iowa Event

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Attends Sen. Joni Ernst's Inaugural Roast And Ride Event
Scott Olson / Getty Images

UPDATE, 11:13 PM: “After we heard that there wasn’t a bomb, everyone had fun,” said Iowa state Sen. Mark Chelgren, according to USA Today.

UPDATE, 9:33 PM: Breitbart News contacted the FBI’s Omaha division, which oversees Iowa, for comment on the bomb threats.

“No comment at this time and if there is a press release it’ll be distributed by the Media Coordinator as soon as possible.”

UPDATE, 7:46 PM: “Iowa state police headquarters did not handle this,” a spokesperson from the Iowa State Police Headquarters told Breitbart News, adding that Boone County Sheriffs Department handled the Boone County threat, and the Polk County Sheriffs Department handled the Polk County threat.

UPDATE, 7:31 PM: Polk County Police Department Spokesperson Brandon Bracelin told Breitbart News exclusively more information about the “security breach” in Iowa Saturday.

He said at 3:23 p.m. that “we got a call from a male that there was five bombs in or near Big Barn Harley Davidson Dealership” in Des Moines, Iowa, where Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) Roast and Ride event kicked off earlier Saturday.

Bracelin said the building was evacuated and searched and “nothing seemed out of place” but after that the business was closed for the day. He told Breitbart News the threat was a voice over call through the internet to “west com dispatch,” which is a radio dispatch for western suburbs.

Bracelin said officials attempted to track where the call came from, but since it was over the internet, officials aren’t able to pinpoint the exact location, but do know the area. He told Breitbart News the report will be turned over to detectives for further investigation.

The FBI and Homeland Security Departments were not called or their assistance was not requested.

“They were not involved that we know of… I don’t know if they are going to follow up with the threat or not,” Bracelin said.

He said from his understanding the same individual made the threat to both Polk County and Boone. He did not yet identify that individual.

Bracelin heard about the call to Boone after officials informed him about the call to Polk County, so he believed the threat made to Boone was similar to the one in Polk.

Breitbart News circled back with Chief Deputy R.D. Lampe with the Boone, Iowa police department who originally notified Breitbart News about the bomb threat in Polk County.

“We have not received any new information on that,” he said.

Lampe said about the bomb threat call was made to a non-emergency number and said there was supposed to be an “explosive device” at the Iowa State Expo where the GOP presidential candidates were gathered.

“He called the Iowa State Patrol radio system” which dispatches to state troopers, and sine three state troopers were already escorting Ernst up to the event in Boone from the Big Barn Harley Davidson dealership in Des Moines, “went to work secured the candidates like I said and searched the area,” said Lampe.

“Someone had said they dropped some bag bombs—and they spread them throughout the event,” one source who was on scene at the Boone event told Breitbart News, adding that’s it unclear if any bombs were found on scene. “Within an hour they gave the all clear. So I don’t know.”

At this point, it’s unclear if any bombs were found and cleared—or if it was just an entirely false alarm. It’s also still unclear who made the threats and why.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM: A witness on scene at the event told Breitbart News that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee—who was giving a taped interview to Fox News’ John Roberts about Obamatrade, which Huckabee opposes, and other matters—was whisked away by an aide in the middle of the interview.

“I was sitting there and the governor was giving an interview about TPP and about Hillary Clinton to John Roberts at Fox News, and as soon as he got done security came over and grabbed the governor and said ‘we got to get you out of here, we’ve got a security situation,’” the witness said. “They just pulled him out of there and that was the end of it. It wasn’t live, but they were taping it.”

This happened around 12:50 p.m. CT on Saturday, and was previously unreported until now.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM: Breitbart News spoke to Lucy Nashed, Gov. Rick Perry’s communications director. According to Nashed, the event went smoothly from the campaign’s perspective, with any security issues not having an obvious effect. “This was a great event hosted by Sen. Ernst, and Gov. Perry appreciated the opportunity to raise money for an important veterans’ cause and share his optimistic vision for America with Iowans.”

Breitbart News also confirmed with Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign that the event went well from their perspective, without any perceived interference or inconvenience from the bomb threats.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM: Joni Ernst spokeswoman Brook Hogueson emailed to Breitbart News to say she’s referring reporters to the Iowa State Police for comment.

“I’d refer you to Iowa State Patrol,” Hogueson said in an email.

State police, when reached, referred Breitbart News back to the local police — who referred Breitbart News back to the state police. The situation with regard to information flow seems to be out of control and several federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Secret Service, Capitol Police and more have not returned calls for comment from Breitbart News. It’s unclear if anyone is taking the string of at least two bomb threats around Republican presidential candidates seriously.

It’s also unknown who made the bomb threats and if the two calls are related. Which authorities are investigating, if any, remains to be seen. None of the presidential campaigns on site are agreeing to speak on record about the matter, although several have confirmed the details of this report to Breitbart News anonymously.

Original text appears below. 

R.D. Lampe with the Boone, Iowa police department confirms exclusively to Breitbart News that a bomb threat was called in to the Iowa Roast and Ride with a voice recorder. He later added that as that event was ending, a second bomb threat was called to authorities in Polk county.

Lampe says that when bomb threats are made, it’s usually difficult to track down the caller. He says a number can be traced, but it’s usually a throw-away phone.

The potential security breach prevented candidates getting to their tents and greeting voters for a time on Saturday. At least seven GOP candidates were at the event.

Two separate campaign officials had confirmed to Breitbart News candidates were held for security reasons due to a security breach.

A third campaign confirmed to Breitbart News that it was in fact a “bomb threat.”

“They had to move principles (candidates and major speakers) to one of the side buildings,” one staffer for a third campaign told Breitbart News. One source, for example, had reported seeing former Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrive on a motorcycle, then be escorted away from the crowd to a secure area.

Sen. Joni Ernst told Breitbart News she can’t confirm anything about the situation.

No official staff organizing the event would confirm, or even comment on the breach to Breitbart News. But the site has been secured, event speakers have taken to the stage and all appears to be fine.

Matthew Boyle and Sarah Rumpf contributed to this report. 


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