FBI to investigate bomb threats to metro theaters

The FBI said Friday afternoon it is investigating several bomb threats made to a Georgia-based movie theater company that had several metro Atlanta theaters on alert Friday, as well as theaters in other states. But nothing suspicious was located in any theaters, a company spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Callers identifying themselves as employees of a vendor used by Columbus-based Carmike Cinemas made the threats to theaters, Terrell Mayton, company spokesman, said Friday afternoon.

The threats were made in multiple states, but nothing suspicious was located, Mayton said. A threat was also phoned into the corporate office, he said.

All of the threats concerned the action movie "The Expendables 2," which opened Friday, Mayton said.

"We acted very quickly to make sure our patrons are safe," Mayton said by phone Friday afternoon.

Officers have been dispatched to check Carmike theaters in Atlanta, Snellville, Canton, Newnan, Hiram, Conyers, Cumming and Bartow County, according to police in various agencies.

Carmike Cinemas owns 25 theaters in Georgia, including many in the metro area.

The corporate office alerted metro law enforcement agencies after receiving the threat, Sgt. Jonathan Rogers with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies searched the Cartersville theater, but nothing was located.

A man carrying a gun and knives was arrested Thursday night at the Carmike theater in Columbus, the city's police department said Friday afternoon. But investigators said they do not believe the 23-year-old man is responsible for the bomb threats, according to Lt. Lynn Joiner with the Columbus Police Department.

Joshua L. Vardeman, 23, who faces three misdemeanor charges, had purchased a ticket for a special screening of "The Expendables 2" and tried to enter carrying a computer bag, police said.

Vardeman was stopped by an officer, who found a 9 mm automatic handgun and several bullets, Joiner said.

Investigators also searched Vardeman's car and home, but no explosive devices were found, Joiner said. Vardeman was released from jail at 5 a.m. after posting $1,076 bond, police said.

Anyone with information regarding the threats is asked to contact the Atlanta FBI office at 404-679-9000 or email atlanta@ic.fbi.gov.

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