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Nationwide Bomb Threats Spark Evacuations, Anxiety

FBI hammered with calls from across the country today

A wave of bomb threats were reported Thursday against businesses, schools, hospitals and other places across the country — causing panic and evacuations, although all appeared to be hoaxes.

Police in cities nationwide reported threats, some emailed, some phoned in.

The FBI in a statement said they were “aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners 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.”

Authorities in New York City were monitoring “multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city,” the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism bureau said on Twitter.

“These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time,” the NYPD said.

A sheriff’s department deputy stands guard outside the main driveway to Columbine High School after a bomb threat on Dec. 13, 2018.

New York police said later on Twitter that there was an “email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment” but that no devices had been found. They said it appeared that the threats were “meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money.”

Students were evacuated from the Bronx High School of Science at 11 a.m. Thursday after a bomb threat was phoned in, NBC New York reported. Police in Nassau County, New York, meanwhile, said they responded to 12 emailed bomb threats.

An Oklahoma City police spokesman said 10 to 13 email bomb threats were sent to specific addresses in and around the city but that investigators hadn’t found anything serious.

A police officer removes police tape along California Street in San Francisco on Dec. 13, 2018. Authorities say bomb threats sent to dozens of schools, universities and other locations across the U.S. appear to be a hoax.

Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter that their bomb squad was responding to “multiple bomb threats emailed to numerous businesses in the state.” They said in a tweet later that there were no indications “of any explosives located or detonated to this point.”

In Florida, Orlando police said in a statement they were aware of emailed threats to local businesses and across the county. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office also said it had received threats to several businesses.

A false bomb threat was also made against Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, where two students killed 13 people in April 1999 in what was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at the time.

A caller claimed to have “multiple explosive devices” inside the school on Thursday morning, said Mike Taplin, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Columbine and 28 other nearby school were placed on “lockout,” according to Jefferson County Public Schools.

In San Francisco, police said they also responded to reports of bomb threats at numerous locations. Employees at a Jewish community center and multiple branches of the San Francisco Fire Credit Union were evacuated, NBC Bay Area reported. At least two dozen threats were being tracked in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources told NBC Los Angeles.

Sheriff’s deputies respond to a bomb threat at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, on Thursday.

South Elgin, Illinois, police said an emailed bomb threat at one business directed the company to send “$20,000.00 to a bitcoin account by the end of the business day in order to stop the alleged threat.” Police said that they then became aware of other threats in the area and that the incident is believed to be a phishing scam.


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