Authorities say bomb threats sent to dozens of schools, universities and other locations across the U.S. appear to be a hoax.
At this time it unclear if the threats — which have been received locally at locations such as Capital University at Yochum Hall and the Reynoldsburg High School – Summit Campus. Bomb threats have also been received throughout San Francisco, at the University of Washington in Seattle, and at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, among other places — are connected. The FBI said it is aware of the threats and is working with law enforcement to provide assistance.
“As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety,” the FBI said.
The New York City Police Department said the threats sent Thursday were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and are not considered credible.
Some of the threats, including the threat sent to Reynoldsburg, demanding a payment in Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin scammers began arriving about 1 p.m. eastern, according to Twitter users who received the notes, according to news reports.
The bomb threat demands $20,000 be delivered to a BTC wallet and threatens that explosives will be detonated if that money is not paid. The emails claim that explosives had been planted in the location where the email recipient works by a “mercenary” of the sender. The emails have subjects like “Think twice,” and “Think about how they can help you” and appeared to be robo-generated spam, according to news reports.
The Columbus Division of Police Homeland Security Section said the originator of the emails threatens to blow up buildings if Bitcoins are not paid out.
This is a generic email being sent out, police said in a statement.
CPD is recommending that building managers and security search their facilities if they receive a threat.
“We understand that the building occupants will recognize any items that are out of place and are in the best position to provide an accurate picture of the threat,” police said in a statement
Authorities said CPD would respond if building officials noticed anything suspicious or out of place.
Some of the emails had the subject line: “Think Twice.”
The Palm Beach County, Florida sheriff’s office and the Boise, Idaho police said they had no reason to believe that threats made to locations in those areas were credible.
Across the country, some schools were closed early and others were evacuated because of the threats. Penn State University noticed students via a campus alert. Near Atlanta, people were ushered out of a courthouse.
Students and staff were evacuated from Capital University Thursday afternoon.
CapAlert: There has been a bomb threat at Yochum Hall. Please evacuate Yochum Hall until further notice.— Capital University (@Capital_U) December 13, 2018
Capital University later Tweeted:
CapAlert: All Clear. Immediate threat is over. Resume normal activities on campus.— Capital University (@Capital_U) December 13, 2018
The Reynoldsburg High School – Summit Campus was placed on limited mobility and law enforcement swept the building Thursday afternoon. All after-school activities for Summit and the elementary school next door, Summit Road Elementary, have been canceled as a precaution, school officials said.
Locally, the following locations also received threats:
- 426 McCormick Blvd.
- 2000 E. Fulton St. Prime Equipment Group
- 1900 Jetway
- 2800 Corporate Exchange Drive Suite 300
- 57 E. Gay
- 6624 Borr Ave.
- 2867 South High
- 4949 Freeway Drive East
- 1411 W. 3rd Ave.
- 5151 Blazer Memorial Pkwy