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LAPD car searched for possible bomb near Koreatown Jewish temple

December 18, 2012 |  1:32 pm

BombThreat
A Koreatown intersection was shut down Tuesday as the LAPD investigated a bomb threat near the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, eventually using a specialized truck to lift a patrol car to examine its underbelly.

Several streets along Wilshire Boulevard near South Hobart Boulevard and 6th Street remained closed Tuesday afternoon as an LAPD bomb squad continued to investigate the incident.

Details were still developing, but Sgt. David Budek at the Olympic station said an unknown suspect called in a threat against the temple at 3663 Wilshire Blvd. early Tuesday. That threat — which was confirmed by the temple on its Facebook page — "was taken care of" and cleared, Budek said.

But shortly before 8 a.m., police received another call saying there was a bomb at the intersection of Wilshire and South Hobart boulevards, said Los Angeles police Officer Luis Garcia. That call, Budek said, indicated there was a device either near or inside a patrol car parked nearby.

Both calls appeared to have come from the same pay phone, Budek said.

Area streets were closed as a small robot rolled under the patrol car, which was parked on Harvard Street between the temple and Our Lady of Angels church. A larger robot eventually blew out one of the vehicle's back windows before the lift truck moved in.

The truck then lifted the car as the larger robot looked at the underneath the vehicle. It was not immediately clear what, if anything, the robot recovered.

And it was not immediately clear if the patrol car was used in the response to the initial threat made against the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

According to its website, the temple is the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles. Its Wilshire Boulevard location also houses an elementary school.

The temple commented on the incident on its Facebook page, saying it received a bomb threat "specifically focused" on the facility early Tuesday and immediately closed the building.

The temple's Irmas Campus in West Los Angeles also was searched by its security team "out of an abundance of caution" before it opened, the statement said. Nothing was reportedly found, and the campus operated as normal Tuesday.

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Photo: The Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad gets a closer look at the underside of an LAPD patrol car with a robotic device after authorities received a call that a bomb had been planted in the vehicle on Harvard Boulevard near Wilshire Boulevard. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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