Man arrested following YMCA bomb threat

Don Campbell / HP staff

ST. JOSEPH — Police have arrested a man they say admitted to calling in a bomb threat Thursday morning at the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA.

Mario Adonis Cummings, 48, of Benton Harbor, was brought in by authorities and confessed to making the false bomb threat, police said in a news release. Police said Cummings was an employee of the YMCA at the time the call was made.

Cummings is being held at the Berrien County Jail on a felony charge in relation to making a terrorist threat or false report of terrorism. No other details about Cummings or a potential motive were released. 

According to Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey, a YMCA employee received a call shortly after 7 a.m. from an individual who said a bomb had been left in the building. The man then abruptly hung up.

Authorities made two sweeps through the building at 3665 Hollywood Road, along with assistance of Spectrum Lakeland Health’s bomb-sniffing dog.

Police cleared the scene two hours later. The YMCA reopened at 10 a.m.

Bailey said the organization’s entire staff and clientele were outside the building when authorities arrived on scene.

“They took precaution and had everybody step out,” Bailey said. “We worked with the employees to search the building to see if there was anything suspicious. We had to have someone come with us who was familiar with the building to see if something stood out.”

Bailey said authorities were able to use Lakeland’s bomb-sniffing dog for Thursday’s search in the absence of their own.

Earlier this year the sheriff department’s dog died suddenly, leaving a vacancy. Bailey said they are still in the process of training another dog, which is undergoing a seven-week program.

Assisting the sheriff’s department was the Michigan State Police, Royalton Township Fire Department and Medic 1.

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