Metro rail line users can expect to see a reduced law enforcement presence on their morning commute Wednesday after investigators found no evidence to corroborate a warning of a possible bomb attack at the Red Line subway station in Universal City.
But authorities indicated the extra security measures imposed Tuesday were not immediately being totally dismantled.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department remain on a heightened state of awareness with increased directed patrol deployments where deemed necessary,” said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
Commuters who rely on Metro rail lines were met with heavy security Tuesday as local and federal authorities responded to the tip of a possible “explosive device” that would be detonated at the Red Line station on Lankershim Boulevard across from Universal Studios.
Authorities learned about the threat from someone in Australia who called a public safety line and provided information about the alleged plot, according to Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Horace Frank, assistant commanding officer of the department’s Counterterrorism Bureau.
The tip, made from a pay phone reported to have been used to communicate bogus threats in the past, was relayed to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Monday morning, authorities said.
“Working with our law enforcement partners, the FBI has found no evidence that the threat made to the Los Angeles Metro Red Line is credible,” according to an FBI statement.
“Based on significant similarities, law enforcement partners also believe the anonymous caller may have, on a previous occasion, reported threats that did not materialize.”
The Universal City Station was heavily fortified Tuesday, with barricades and a throng of sheriff’s deputies and police officers wielding high- powered weapons.
A sign warned travelers that their bags would be subject to search, and anyone who refused to be searched would not be allowed into the underground station.
Given the short notice of the threat, authorities opted to release information about it to the public, and they urged transit riders to report any suspicious activity.
“When it comes to terrorism activities … our best line of defense is always going to be the community,” Frank said. ” … That’s why we ask members of the community to be vigilant — not to be scared, not to disrupt their daily activities, but to be aware of your surroundings.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti boarded a Red Line train at the Universal City station Tuesday morning as a show of confidence to fellow riders. He urged anyone seeing something suspicious to call (877) A-THREAT.
—City News Service
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