Raleigh, N.C. — Threats to a major theater chain's corporate headquarters had police across the country, including in North Carolina, sweeping movie showrooms for bombs.
Police in cities, including Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington, Greenville and Fayetteville responded to the threats Friday morning after Carmike Cinemas in Columbus, Ga., received a call Thursday evening from someone claiming to be a theater vendor about bombs being placed in numerous theaters.
Carmike officials alerted the FBI after discovering the threat in a voicemail message Friday morning, said company spokesman Terrell Mayton. He said the call was placed after hours Thursday by someone claiming to work for a contractor that provides janitorial services to Carmike.
While Mayton wouldn't discuss specifics of the call, Columbus police said the person referenced the Sylvester Stallone movie, "The Expendables 2," that opened Friday.
In a statement Friday afternoon, the company said the affected theaters were checked and deemed safe and that a federal investigation in under way.
Mayton said the caller outlined "some specifics to a bomb threat at certain locations," but that he did not know how many theaters were mentioned or in how many states.
Carmike owns 233 theaters in 35 states. Media outlets Friday reported police searching theaters in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina.
In North Carolina, Fayetteville police searched at least four theaters.
Officers in Durham searched the Wynnsong Movie Theater on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
The theaters were closed, but authorities said some employees were asked to leave the buildings.
The threats come in light of a theater massacre last month in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were shot to death and nearly 60 other people injured during a showing of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
Theaters have heightened their security in recent weeks, as a result.