Bomb threat prompts evacuation of businesses in Mount Vernon
A bomb threat made against a business in Mount Vernon on Monday prompted police to evacuate stores as a precaution.
Downtown Mount Vernon business owners and their patrons suddenly found themselves having to interrupt their lunches and quickly evacuate.
Mount Vernon police notified the public on social media of a bomb threat just after 1 p.m.
Residents described a tense couple of hours.
"They closed everything off," Martin DeRose told News 12. "They would check each store, take them all out, go in and check, you know, do whatever they were doing. And what, two and a half hours it had been going on, maybe three."
Police from multiple agencies, the Mount Vernon Fire Department and Westchester County Emergency Management all responded to the scene.
A city spokesperson said someone either sent -- or called in -- a bomb threat to a Gramatan Avenue business.
Business owners said police evacuated all businesses on the east side of Gramatan, just north of Sidney Avenue.
"We thought maybe something was burning or something," said restaurant owner Emelia Ansah.
Ansah said that when police arrived, she and her staff dropped everything, went outside, and waited it out in their cars.
Police swept each business with K-9s and gave the all-clear.
Ansah said the quick and thorough response gave her some comfort.
"They asked us to come back, so we came back in," she said. "At least we know we're safe and nothing is going on."
Mount Vernon officials said Westchester County police are still investigating, and there is no threat to public safety.