Shaw’s Plaza at 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville is shown Thursday, a day after police say an unspecified business at the strip mall received what was found to be a hoax bomb threat. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Police are investigating what they say was a hoax bomb threat Wednesday night involving Shaw’s Plaza off Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Maj. Jason Longley of the Waterville Police Department said Thursday he could not share many details of the ongoing investigation, including which business had been targeted by the bomb threat.

Businesses at Shaw’s Plaza at 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive include Shaw’s supermarket, 90’s Nails & Spa, Planet Fitness, Sun Tan City, The Curtainshop of Maine, Flagship Premium Cinemas and Applebee’s Grill + Bar.

While police were not revealing the exact target of the threat, Planet Fitness businesses across the country have been targeted with bomb threats since last month, when the social media account “Libs of TikTok” launched a boycott campaign against Planet Fitness to retaliate against the company’s trans-inclusive locker room policy.

The effort went viral online and at least 44 Planet Fitness locations in the United States have reported hoax bomb threats in recent weeks, according to the nonprofit Media Matters for America.

Bomb threats have also been made recently against the Maine State House in Augusta, as legislators consider bills related to protecting health care for transgender youth. The Maine Capitol Police have been beefing up security measures in light of the threats and keeping abreast of bills under discussion that might be of a contentious nature.


Longley said Waterville police received a report of the bomb threat between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday “involving the shopping center on Kennedy Memorial Drive.”

“We were able to narrow down the location of the threat to one location in the plaza, and that area was cleared and determined to be safe,” Longley wrote in an email. “At this time the investigation is ongoing as we work through attempting to identify the initial source of the threat.”

Longley said police were not able to share the source of the bomb threat report, but made contact Wednesday with every business at Shaw’s Plaza. He said he did not believe the businesses had been evacuated, as has been reported on social media.

The manager at Planet Fitness on Thursday referred questions about the bomb threat to his regional manager. An email sent to that official was not returned by late Thursday morning.

An official at the Shaw’s supermarket referred questions to Shaw’s spokeswoman Teresa Edington. She did not respond to an email seeking comment.

A man at the 90’s Nails & Spa said he saw police at Shaw’s Plaza on Wednesday night, but 90’s Nails had not been evacuated.

Amy Calder — 207-861-9247

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