A suspicious call originating in Galesburg and received at the Public Safety Building at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday could have been interpreted as a threat, according to Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf.
The call, which lasted about ten seconds, “contained a short nonspecific comment” from a caller who sounded like an older male with an accent, according to the campus alert sent out by Schlaf a half hour after the incident.
“The comment was about seven words long, including the words ‘Galesburg,’ ‘Knox College’ and ‘evacuate,’ but nothing was associated with the word ‘evacuate’ other than the location,” Schlaf said.
According to Schlaf, the call recipient asked the caller what he meant by the comment, and then the caller ended the call.
Schlaf said the call was traced back to a cell tower in the north central part of the city, but it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact origin.
“The police communicated with T-Mobile, the major carrier involved, and there was some indication that the SIM card was used with another device, which may have caused some difficulty finding the origination,” Schlaf said.
Schlaf said the call was very vague and Campus Safety was not given very much information by the Galesburg Police Department, and there was no direct threat contained in the call.
“There was no specific threat, but the way it was said and some of the words used implied a threat,” Schlaf said. “We were coming down on the side of caution that there was a threat [in sending the alert].”
Schlaf said there was a heightened police presence around the campus perimeter
Schlaf said the investigative efforts even reached to the state and national level, but his campus-wide email alert indicated that those checks were negative.
“Even though this was an event with a small amount of information,” Schlaf said, “there was a broad and large investigation involved from the time when the call came in.”
No information about what was said during the call was made readily available at the Public Safety Building, and no formal report was available for review.