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Second bomb threat reported at Charlottesville Planet Fitness

For the second time this month the Charlottesville Planet Fitness was a target of an anonymous bomb threat.

Albemarle County police officers and a Fire Rescue crew were dispatched to the gym at the 5th Street Station shopping center just south of city limits late Friday afternoon.

The building was evacuated while police inspected the building. They used bomb-sniffing dogs to scan for any explosive devices, but determined none were on the premises.

The building was cleared less than an hour after authorities were dispatched to the scene.

The Albemarle County Fire Marshal’s Office is now handling the investigation. It’s the same unit that is investigating the other bomb threat made on April 9.

Planet Fitness locations across the country have been the target of bomb threats in recent weeks, a trend that began when an Alaska woman posted a video on Facebook of a stranger shaving in the women’s bathroom at one of the franchises.

The Alaska woman claimed the stranger was a trans woman, and wrote that, “There is a man shaving in a woman’s bathroom.”

Her membership was later revoked because taking photos or videos in the locker rooms of a Planet Fitness is a violation of the gym’s policy.

The post quickly went viral, in part because it was picked up and disseminated by Libs of TikTok, a right-wing social media account. It called for a national boycott of Planet Fitness, and locations across the country began receiving bomb threats shortly after.

Albemarle County Supervisor Mike Pruitt represents the Scottsville District where the Charlottesville Planet Fitness is located.

Days after the April 9 bomb threat, Pruitt wrote an op-ed published in The Daily Progress taking aim at Chaya Raichik, the California woman behind Libs of TikTok.

“Ms. Raichik is a grifter who has amassed wealth and fame over the past three years through hateful social media content,” he wrote. “On her best days, Ms. Raichik is a grown woman who bullies children on the internet. On her worst days, she is a political terrorist.”

“Too often, her actions lead to threats of violence that cross the threshold from the digital world into the real one,” Pruitt wrote.

Police are seeking tips from anyone who has information on either of the bomb threats.

Those with information are encouraged to call the Albemarle County Police Department at (434) 296-5807 or the anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line at (434) 977-4000.


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