Former employee accused of Austrian theatre bomb hoax
A false bomb alarm that led to the evacuation in February of a theatre packed out for a premier night at Klagenfurt City Theatre was the work of a disgruntled former employee, according to police.
As reported earlier this year, a full scale police operation was launched to evacuate 850 people from the Klagenfurt City Theatre after authorities received a phone call saying that a bomb had been planted in the venue.
The evacuation began at 9pm, with theatre director Florian Scholz interrupting the performance of Puccini's opera 'Madame Butterfly' to ask the guests to vacate the building immediately.
Police then cornered off a large area which they searched with sniffer dogs, continuing until just after 11pm at which point the all-clear was given after no explosives were found.
Now police say they believe the hoax call was made by a 40-year-old former employer of the theatre who had been dismissed a few months ago.
“We are certain, that it was him,” said police chief Gottlieb Türk. “The call on February 4th come from a telephone booth in Klagenfurt, which made it clear to our investigation.”
“The man was dismissed a few months ago from his employment with the City Theatre, we suspect this was revenge,” he added.
While he denies making the hoax phone call, the former employee has admitted to spraying graffiti onto the building of the theatre.
“This is above all about the graffiti,” said Türk, who confirmed nonetheless that he is also being investigated for the bomb threat.