Email bomb threats received Thursday locally, nationally
KINGMAN — The Kingman Police Department responded to a third bomb threat in a week on Thursday.
The latest one, though, appeared to be part of a nationwide wave of email threats received by schools, businesses and government buildings.
Emily Fromelt, public information officer for the Bullhead City Police Department, said that at least one Bullhead City business was targeted in Thursday’s wave, but did not identify the business.
Police were not asked to investigate; the business representative contacted police only to make them aware that the email outbreak had reached Bullhead City, she said.
Kingman police, who in the past week have responded to two earlier — and apparently unrelated — bomb threats, went to a glass shop in the 3300 block of Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman around noon on Thursday, where the shop’s email account had received a demand for a large payment in Bitcoin with a threat to detonate a bomb if payment was not received.
No bombs were found, Kingman Police Deputy Chief Rusty Cooper said. He said the email was believed to have been sent outside of America, possibly either Russia or Amsterdam.
The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are investigating the threats.
Law enforcement agencies across the country dismissed the threats, saying they were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and were not considered credible.
Some of the emails had the subject line: “Think Twice.” They were sent from a spoofed email address. The sender claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient’s building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin.
“We are currently monitoring multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city,” the New York City Police Department’s counterterrorism unit tweeted. “These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time.”
Other law enforcement agencies also dismissed the threats, which were written in a choppy style reminiscent of the Nigerian prince email scam.
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. One of the emails wound up in a spam filter, Boise Police Chief William Bones said.
The FBI said it is assisting law enforcement agencies that are dealing with the threats.
“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 in a statement.
Thursday’s scare came less than two months after prominent Democratic officials and CNN’s Manhattan offices were targeted with package bombs. The suspect in that case, Cesar Sayoc, is in jail while awaiting trial.
In the wake of Thursday’s emails, some schools across the country closed early and others were evacuated or placed on lockdown. Authorities said a threat emailed to a school in Troy, Missouri, about 55 miles northeast of St. Louis, was sent from Russia.
The bomb threats also prompted evacuations at city hall in Aurora, Illinois, the offices of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, a suburban Atlanta courthouse and businesses in Detroit.
“Organizations nationwide, both public and private, have reported receiving emailed bomb threats today,” Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shannon Banner said. “They are not targeted toward any one specific sector.”
Penn State University notified students via a text alert about threats to a half-dozen buildings and an airport on its main campus in State College, Pennsylvania. In an update, the school said the threat appeared to be part of a “national hoax.”
Officials at Columbine High School in Colorado were dealing Thursday with a bomb threat of a different sort. Students were being kept inside for the rest of the school day after someone called in a bomb threat against the school.
Thursday’s threat in Kingman came on the heels of two called-in threats to the city’s 911 system.
Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, an unknown person called 911 saying that there were explosive devices planted in Smith’s Food & Drug in Kingman. The caller claimed that he would blow up the store if his demand for a large sum of money was not met.
The building was evacuated. The Kingman police bomb squad searched the store and did not find anything suspicious. No money was transferred. The suspect caller has not been identified.
An unknown person called Kingman 911 on Dec. 6, saying that there were bombs in the area of Manzanita Elementary School. The school was evacuated but the bomb squad searched the entire school and did not find anything suspicious.
Cooper said Kingman police will respond to any calls of threats; however, the decision to evacuate a business is up to the owner.
Business owners should pay attention to strange or unusual items to help first responders, Cooper said.
The Associated Press and Daily News Editor Bill McMillen contributed to this report.