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911 call that shut down New Hope streets was a hoax, authorities say

The call, placed to Bucks County dispatchers just before 5 p.m. Sunday, turned out to be a hoax.

File photo.
File photo.Read moreFILE

A 911 call from a man who claimed to have shot his girlfriend while barricaded with a pipe bomb in a New Hope apartment on Sunday night turned out to be a hoax, authorities said.

After dispatchers received the call about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, investigators searched an old Victorian house on West Ferry Street, where the caller said he was. The building houses two businesses, including smoke shop Vaportimme & CBD Timme, and two apartments, said Michael Cummings, chief of the New Hope Borough Police Department.

Occupants were in three of the four rooms, but police could not contact a woman who lived in the fourth suite. As they grew increasingly concerned, police evacuated the nearby Logan Inn, as well as other businesses. Farther away, other residents and business owners were asked to remain inside as a precaution while rifle-toting police officers filled the block.

Investigators sent in robots that searched the building and found it empty, Cummings said.

Soon after, the person who initially called police placed a second call, criticizing the police. Cummings said the caller had been watching a YouTube feed from Vaportimme that was broadcasting the police activity happening outside.

Shortly before 9 p.m., authorities said investigators determined that the call was a hoax. The streets shortly reopened after police left the area.

The identity of the caller, who dialed from an untraceable number, is under investigation.

Laurence Keller, mayor of New Hope, apologized for the inconvenience the hoax caused to business owners and visitors, while saying the town had to be vigilant about possible violent situations.