The Wisconsin sheriff’s office featured in the Netflix series Making a Murderer was forced to evacuate after it received a bomb threat that appeared to be connected to the hit documentary, officials said.
The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office received a call at about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday that threatened action to exact “justice for Steven,” believed to be a reference to the series’ central figure, Steven Avery, the County’s Police Department said.
The caller claimed that there were bombs inside the building and there was a vehicle with bombs outside the building in the parking lot, Manitowoc City Police Capt. Larry Zimney told reporters.
The Sheriff’s Department’s office and nearby courthouse buildings were cleared as police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the area.
“MTPD and MTSO taking the threat seriously for the safety of all,” the Manitowoc police department wrote on Twitter at the time.
Investigators deemed the area to be all clear around 9 p.m.
“Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call the Manitowoc Police Department...you can remain anonymous,” police wrote on Twitter.
The sheriff’s office is heavily featured in the online documentary series, which focuses on the story of Avery, who served 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit before being exonerated in 2003.
He was arrested again in 2005 in connection to the murder of Teresa Halbach, a local photographer, and was convicted in 2007.
The attorneys representing Avery argued in court that members of the sheriff’s department manipulated evidence and suggested their client was framed for the murder.
Making a Murderer follows Avery, who maintains his innocence, through the arrest and trial.
Following the release of the documentary, the sheriff’s office received an onslaught of criticism from the public for its handling of the Halbach murder investigation.
The sheriff’s department said less than a month after the documentary series’ premiere that it received between 250 and 300 phone calls and hundreds of emails, most of which were negative, about its role in the Avery case.
“Unfortunately, I think the film has done a lot of damage and is definitely not the way Manitowoc County would like to be put on the map,” Sheriff Robert Hermann told the Appleton Post-Crescent.
“This film shows only three to maybe four hours of courtroom for Steven Avery and you’re talking a trial that lasted approximately six weeks, so there is a lot of evidence missing," he said.