NASHVILLE, Ind. — A cryptic threat to 911 dispatch set off a massive police response in the heart of Brown County after a caller said they would blow up a restaurant and shoot police officers who responded to the scene.

Around 3:30 p.m. Friday, police in Nashville, Indiana, said a person used a voice-changing device to call dispatchers. The caller claimed they had placed pipe bombs in trash cans throughout the “Out of the Ordinary” restaurant in the middle of the city.

As officers began rushing to the scene, investigators said the person called back and told dispatchers they were watching over the restaurant from a sniper position.

“You thought he was there,” said Officer Dylan Smock who responded to the scene. “He was giving awesome descriptions of everybody on scene and all the vehicles in the area.”

Smock said once they arrived, the caller said they were going to start shooting and killing the responding officers.

“I’ve been doing this job since 2019 and that is the first time that I have ever felt like a sitting duck because you have no clue where he’s at,” Smock said.

Police started evacuating businesses in that area.

“A county officer came in with an AK-47 and said ‘you need to shut down the building and leave’,” said Kate May, an employee at the Totem Post across the street from the restaurant.

May said she grabbed what she could, locked the door and ran.

“I’ve been here 27 years and I’ve never seen that before,” May recalled.

Police deployed heat-sensing drones to canvass nearby rooftops and found no sniper. Bomb-sniffing dogs were then able to search the restaurant and found nothing.

EarthCam in Nashville, Ind.

Investigators discovered that the caller was conducting the cynical prank using a publicly accessible webcam that overlooks a section of Downtown Nashville.

The webcam was hosted by EarthCam and is attached to the restaurant where the bomb threat was made. Employees said it has only been up for a few weeks and it was taken offline Saturday.

Police said they were able to trace the restricted number used to place the call to a computer. When they attempted to trace the computer’s IP address, it bounced around to servers all across the world.

“We don’t deal with the stuff every day,” Smock said. “Obviously it was a shock to the little town of Nashville.”

While the threat was unfounded, that didn’t stop the police response from causing widespread panic.

“It’s small town USA and this is not a normal situation,” said Warren Sargent, the production manager at the Brown County Playhouse.

Sargent said the scare forced them to cancel a performance of “A Christmas Carol.” The theatre honored Friday night tickets for Saturday night’s performance but lost some money due to refunds.

“We’ve kind of got the reputation of being a Norman Rockwell-style Christmas around here,” Sargent said. “To have that type of disruption is really disheartening.”

The loss of customers was the biggest disappointment for business owners in the town. This final weekend before Christmas is normally one of their busiest.

“Today’s business has been way down,” May said. “I’m afraid it’s because of what happened, I hope people aren’t afraid to come back.”

Visitors said they were shocked to hear of that happening in this normally quiet town and say they’re not scared.

“It’s perfectly safe down here,” Jeanna Mattison said. “It’s a small town community.”

Nashville Police said they don’t believe the caller is from anywhere near the town. The department said it will conduct its part of the investigation and then will turn over the case to the FBI.

Anyone who has any information about what happened is asked to call 911.