UPDATE, 11 p.m. EST: Authorities in Monmouth County, New Jersey, say Jesse Carroll, 22, of Middletown, New Jersey, has been charged with two counts of public false alarm for making a bomb threat at a Freehold movie theater screening “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” If convicted, he faces five to 10 years in prison on each count, the New York Daily News reported.
A New Jersey movie theater was evacuated Friday during a showing of the new "Star Wars" film because of a bomb threat. It’s the second time this week the AMC Freehold Metroplex at the Freehold Raceway Mall has been evacuated, according to New Jersey 101.5 radio station.
Freehold police and the Monmouth County Sherriff’s Department responded to the threat at the theater just before noon during two showings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Theater employees offered evacuated moviegoers free tickets to come back and see the film, a witness told the radio station. Authorities cleared the scene and reopened the theater shortly after 1 p.m. EST, announcing the good news in a tweet mimicking Jedi Master Yoda.
Update for #FreeholdTwp: Cleared the theatre has been, reopened now it is.
— Monmouth PD,FD, EMS (@MonmouthPDFDEMS) December 18, 2015
The AMC Freehold Metroplex was evacuated Monday night as well, after an employee found a written threat in a bathroom, saying bombs had been placed in multiple theaters inside the building. After searching the complex with bomb-sniffing dogs, authorities found no threat and cleared the movie theater to reopen, according to NJ.com.
Hundreds of miles away in northeast Oklahoma, police arrested a man in the town of Broken Arrow Thursday night after he told employees at a Walmart he was going to watch the new "Star Wars" film at a nearby movie theater, where he said there was a bomb. The man, Timothy Lair, also told employees there was a bomb in the meat section of the Walmart store.
Police found Lair, 41, at the Warren Theater, and he admitted to making the threats. Authorities conducted a thorough search of the theater, and no bomb was found, the Warren Theater vice president told the News on 6 TV station in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bomb threats weren’t the only menaces endangering "Star Wars" fans this week. An online organization entitled “The Alliance to Preserve the Expanded Universe” was threatening to spoil the latest episode in the franchise on social media unless Disney agrees to film the saga’s abandoned “expanded universe” stories, the Guardian reported.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiered Thursday night, taking a record $57 million at the box office, according to USA Today. The film has also scored well among critics, with a 95 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.