Target stores in several states are open and operating regular hours following a series of bomb threats, the retailer said by email Tuesday. Target didn’t respond to questions about the nature of the messages or whether they were related to the its Pride collection.
“The safety of our team members and guests is our top priority,” Target said in a statement. “Law enforcement investigated these claims and determined our stores are safe.”
In recent weeks, emails have been sent to local news outlets in Oklahoma, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah and Pennsylvania, making claims about bombs hidden at Target stores, according to news reports.
Target has become the epicenter of Pride Month backlash this year, and that has turned especially nerve-racking.
In New England and New York, the threatening messages purported to support LGBTQ+ rights and accused Target of betraying the community, according to The Washington Post.
Federal law enforcement officials notified local police “of threats all around the northeast that to date they have found not credible,” Lebanon New Hampshire Chief of Police Phillip Roberts said by email.
Similarly, in Keene, New Hampshire, police “have recently been made aware of a bomb threat mentioning the Keene Target and, after investigating the matter, have deemed this threat to be non-credible,” Keene Police Sergeant Luke Antin said by email.
According to KFOR, one of the Oklahoma City news outlets that were recipients of the threats, the message referenced April 19, 1995, the date of the domestic terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building there.
The email sent to KFOR began with, “We are going to play a game” and claimed that bombs were hidden in products within Target stores, according to its report. The news station also said that on the same day, it had obtained similar emails, possibly by the same sender, threatening Bud Light owner Anheuser-Busch; transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who briefly partnered with Bud Light; and Kohl’s.
The Target stores were evacuated as a precaution, and nothing suspicious was found, Oklahoma City Police Sergeant Dillon Quirk said by email.
In recent weeks, Target altered or moved its Pride merchandise in some stores after people destroyed items and confronted store workers. The retailer has a long history of LGBTQ+ advocacy. But since the disturbances in stores it has gone quiet, even as the community calls for stronger messaging.