A spate of bomb threats have been called in to organizations across the country: Businesses, government buildings, media outlets, and schools have been evacuated in response to suspicious emails about explosives.
According to CNN, the University of Washington in Seattle was on alert after receiving an email threat that was ultimately determined to be not credible. The Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia, Washington, and the Park Record newspaper office in Park City, Utah, received similar threats. Chicago police have fielded between 15 and 20 bomb threat reports in recent hours. Police departments nationwide are looking into these tips, but so far, none have led to actual explosives.
"We are 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," read a statement from the FBI Washington Field Office. "As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety."
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) December 13, 2018
The NYPD does not believe the threats to be credible. Authorities have searched the targeted locations and found "NO DEVICES," as the NYPD News Twitter account put it. They believe the emails, which request bitcoin payment, to be part of a scam. Still, they're asking the public to come forward about suspicious activity, and will continue to investigate reports as they come in.
At this time, it appears that these threats are meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money. We’ll respond to each call regarding these emails to conduct a search but we wanted to share this information so the credibility of these threats can be assessed as likely NOT CREDIBLE.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018
This morning, Bronx High School of Science received a bomb threat over the phone, prompting the evacuation of 3,000 students around 11 a.m. According to the NY Daily News, assistant principal Phoebe Cooper emailed parents to say that the kids had been taken to nearby schools to wait for the all clear, and that "all students and staff [were] safe." A police sweep of the school turned up no explosive devices. It's presently unclear if this threat was part of the nationwide email campaign.
This story is breaking and will be updated.