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Bomb Threat at Downtown San Francisco Mall Forces Evacuation During APEC

Written by George Kelly and Joel UmanzorPublished Nov. 15, 2023 • 1:42pm
Uniformed police officers are walking near a large dark bomb squad van on a busy street as pedestrians pass by.
The San Francisco Police Department's Bomb Squad responded to the former Westfield San Francisco Centre mall to investigate after an evacuation was called Wednesday. | Source: Joel Umanzor/The Standard

A bomb threat at the former Westfield shopping mall in Downtown San Francisco prompted authorities to evacuate the building briefly on Wednesday afternoon.

Social media posts were first to reference the incident around 1 p.m.

A San Francisco Police Department Bomb Squad vehicle was seen outside the mall, but officers told The Standard there was no credible threat and left the scene shortly before 1:30 p.m.

The incident happened during this week's Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering, which is bringing thousands of attendees to the nearby Moscone Center and a heightened law enforcement presence to Downtown as protesters block traffic outside the security perimeter.

Police said that at 12:17 p.m., officers responded to the mall regarding a person with a suspicious device.

"An area of the building was evacuated by building employees," police spokesperson Robert Rueca said. "Officers arrived on scene and detained a person matching the suspect description and located the suspicious device that was determined to be a lighter."

Officers then searched the building and found it to be safe.

"The incident appears to be isolated and unrelated to APEC events," Rueca said.

The mall's owners were contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.

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Joel Umanzor can be reached at

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