Movie goers stand outside the Regal Cinemas in Barkley Village after evacuating the theater on Sunday, April 28. // Photo by Katie Kovac
The suspect who was arrested by Bellingham Police for making an alleged bomb threat at the Regal Cinemas Barkley Village 16 appeared in Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday, April 29. Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Richey said the alleged bomb threat was pre-planned and terrorized the community.
Ryan Nolan MacFarlane, 27, was arrested and booked as a suspect around 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, for allegedly making the threat near the end of the “Avengers: Endgame” movie, which caused an evacuation of the theater, according to a press release by the Bellingham Police Department.
Bomb threats are considered a Class B felony, which is worth up to 10 years in prison. MacFarlane was ordered by Court Commissioner David Thorn to have no contact with the Regal Cinema and not possess any firearms or other weapons.
Thorn set MacFarlane’s bail at $25,000 due to the seriousness of the allegation.
MacFarlane’s arraignment was set for May 10 at 9 a.m.
The press release states MacFarlane stood up near the end of the movie and shouted at the crowd. The packed theater was struck with panic when, during his rant, MacFarlane made mention of “this bomb will end it all,” according to the press release. The entire cinema was evacuated after the threat was made and no injuries were reported.
After the evacuation, BPD’s explosive detection K-9 “Marley” entered the premises but did not find any explosives, the release states.
MacFarlane exited the theater towards the Woods Coffee complex after the threat was made and an armed citizen followed him out, according to the press release. The citizen announced he was armed and ordered MacFarlane to kneel and wait until police arrived. The press release says MacFarlane complied and waited until BPD arrived to take him into custody.
According to the press release, MacFarlane’s backpack was isolated in the cinema parking until the Bellingham Police Hazardous Devices Unit arrived to inspect it. After further inspection, no explosives were found in the cinema or the backpack, the press release states.
Public Information Officer Lieutenant Claudia Murphy confirmed that the loud boom citizens heard around 5:30 p.m., was the Hazardous Devices Unit rendering the backpack safe.
“This was a very stressful and chaotic scene, and I could not be more proud of our officers and community on how they came together in dealing with such a potentially dangerous situation,” Bellingham Police Chief David Doll said in a prepared statement.
“With the help of a community member, our officers quickly and assuredly made an arrest while Regal Cinema employees assisted in evacuating the entire theater in an effort to keep the public safe from a potential explosive device. Our officers’ professionalism, teamwork and training ensured a swift and safe end to this frightening event in our community.”