A social media post announcing a night of lawlessness and violence in Delaware appears unrelated to any credible threats, according to Delaware County law enforcement officials.
Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore said his department learned of the post after being contacted by WBNS-10TV last week. He said some county residents have received an ominous message via social media that references the 2013 horror film The Purge. In the film, all crimes become legal for a 12-hour period once per year.
The social media post contains an image from the film and announces a “purge” has been set from 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, in the city of Delaware.
Moore said the post previously had been reported to authorities in Cleveland, Louisville, Ky., and Ontario, Ohio. He said the posts appear almost identical, with someone swapping in new city names and dates at the bottom of the image.
“Of note, none of the communities where these (messages) have gone out have reported any problems,” he said.
Moore said his department has not received any official reports from city residents about the post. He said one image was forwarded to the department from 10TV, but it was originally sent to a resident who lives within the jurisdiction of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
Moore said the department could open an investigation into the post if a resident felt threatened by the image and reported it to the department.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said no residents had officially reported the post to her office. She added that the sheriff’s officials had seen “no credible evidence” that the post was related to any real threats.
“What we have gotten are just a few calls and private messages on Facebook,” Whited said, explaining that some residents became concerned after viewing media reports and called the office for more information.
Moore said his department also had received calls from residents who wanted more details about the possible threat.
If the department initiated an investigation into the posting, Moore said it would be difficult to determine who originally created the image and whether they or others who shared it had criminal intent.
Moore said city police officers will “maintain our typical vigilance” during the announced dates and times. He said no extra staffing was planned.