Officers evacuated the BMV, Family Dollar, NCY3 and Outside Cut School of Barbering, which are all located in the center. People parked in the lot also were told move vehicles.
On Wednesday, using cellphone records to track down the suspect, detectives charged a 14-year-old boy with making false alarms and inducing panic, both misdemeanors, Sgt. Earl Nelson said.
The teen made the call on a gaming dare called “swatting,” in which the person makes a false call to lure a large police response, Nelson said.
The complex was searched by officers and a bomb-sniffing police dog, but nothing was found, according to Middletown Police Chief David Birk. Police cleared the scene at 6:46 p.m. and the businesses were allowed to reopen.
The employee who took the call described the person as a younger male.
Swatting calls have been on the rise.
A 14-year-old Huber Heights boy is charged for making three 911 calls between Feb. 4 and 5, including two bomb threats that evacuated a Kroger store and McDonald’s restaurant, and a third call claiming he would kill his mother and himself.
A teen from Medina, Ohio, was identified in November as one of three teens authorities said were responsible for multiple Los Angeles swatting incidents in August 2020 and September 2021.