PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Downtown Providence has returned to normal after a threat Tuesday afternoon turned out to be unfounded.

According to Chief Oscar Perez, the police department got a call from a man who seemed “very agitated” and claimed to have an AR-15 rifle and three pipe bombs. The man said he placed one of the bombs near City Hall and another at the Biltmore Garage, while the third was in his possession.

Police immediately swarmed the downtown area and shut down the roads surrounding the garage. City Hall was evacuated, along with other nearby buildings, and RIPTA suspended bus service to Kennedy Plaza.

Officers in tactical gear were seen patrolling the area and entering the affected buildings with their guns drawn. After every floor was thoroughly checked, police determined there was no credible threat and lifted all of the restrictions.

Story continues below video of news conference.

Police now believe it was a hoax, or “swatting” call. Perez said they eventually learned the call was made through an app, meaning it could’ve come from anywhere.

“When these high-risk calls come in, we immediately have to act on it,” he said. “Because the last thing we want is for something to actually occur and not be ready for it.”

“It was a serious threat that we took seriously,” Mayor Brett Smiley added.

Perez said swatting calls are a problem around the country and a waste of police resources since they can’t take a chance and not respond.

“They cause chaos. It’s reckless, it’s irresponsible, it affects a lot of people, it affects the quality of life for people that are just trying to go about their lives,” the chief explained. “They think it’s a joke, or whatever they think it is, but they will be held accountable.”

Officers also responded to Crossroads on West Franklin Street after police got a tip that was believed may be related, but nothing was found there either.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) briefly placed its Friendship Street headquarters on lockdown out of an abundance of caution, according to an email sent to staff. The DCYF said there was no known threat to the department.

Frankie Cecchinelli, owner of Figdini’s, told 12 News he hunkered down inside the restaurant located below the Biltmore Garage, but never opened up on Tuesday.

“Some of my workers couldn’t get to work,” he said. “We just waited it out, but too much time was lost.”