The mid-morning crowd had to be evacuated from McDonald's on Pike Street after an anonymous caller phoned a bomb threat into the business Tuesday.
"The caller told an employee there was a bomb in the bathroom and they should evacuate the building," said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.
He said the call came in around 10:20 a.m. and store officials made the decision to evacuate customers and employees until police could determine whether or not an explosive device existed inside the restaurant.
"We checked out the entire building but didn't find anything," Waite said. "The restaurant was evacuated for about an hour."
The Marietta Fire Department also stood by to maintain a perimeter while officers searched the premises.
"We treat all such calls seriously until we can prove otherwise," Waite said, adding that an investigation to identify the caller or a motive was continuing.
A bomb threat was called into the McDonald's on Pike Street in Marietta Tuesday morning.
The restaurant was evacuated for about an hour.
Police were continuing an investigation of the incident Tuesday afternoon.
A bomb threat to a public gathering place is considered a felony offense.
Sources: Marietta City Police and Washington County Prosecutor's Office.
McDonald's manager Celeste Holland said employees and customers were back inside the restaurant by 11:30 a.m. and business was back to normal that afternoon.
Store owner Laurie Strahler was out of town when the threat was called in. She said in 35 years none of her area McDonald's have received such a threat.
"Never before," she said. "It's scary, but luckily everyone is safe. It's a terrible prank and my hope is they can find out who did it."
Anyone calling in a bomb threat faces felony charges for inducing panic, according to Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
"And if the call is made to a business that has to be evacuated the extent of the charge depends on how much economic damage has been done," he said. "Generally even an hour can have some economic impact on a business."
The last person convicted on a bomb threat incident in Marietta was Ronald Woodrum, 46, of 1278 Gilman Ave., who phoned a threat to Washington State Community College on May 10, 2011. All campus buildings were evacuated due to the threat and classes were canceled until 5 p.m. that day.
Woodrum was sentenced in March of this year to 180 days in jail and five years of community control for inducing panic at the school, although the second-degree felony charge could have landed him in prison for up to eight years.
Schneider said Woodrum could have received a harsher sentence, but he had no prior criminal record. Both the defense and prosecution in the case agreed that Woodrum could be placed on community control.