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Revista de Prensa: Artículos

martes, 18 de diciembre de 2018

Bomb Threats Sent to Schools and Businesses Across U.S.

Kate Taylor and Niraj Chokshi
Reporters at The New York Times


 
Law enforcement officers responded to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.,
on Thursday A caller claimed to have placed explosive devices in the school.
The call was determined to be a hoax

Businesses, schools, and government buildings across the country were evacuated on Thursday in response to a wave of emailed bomb threats that the authorities said appeared to be a hoax.

The emails, which were received by hundreds of companies, hospitals, libraries and other institutions, according to the New York Police Department, were written in odd syntax and went something like this:

The sender claimed that an explosive device had been hidden “in the building where your company is conducted” and could be prevented from detonating with a $20,000 ransom payment, made using Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.

In a version of the email published on Facebook by the police in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the sender promised to “call off my man if you make a transfer.”

While some people did not take the threat seriously, many others did, calling on law enforcement agencies and prompting evacuations.

Between 30 and 40 of the emails were sent to businesses and institutions in New York City, according to the New York Police Department.

In San Francisco, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the San Francisco Fire Credit Union, which are across the street from each other, were evacuated around 11 a.m. Pacific time. The J.C.C. posted on Facebook that the threat had been received by the credit union, but that the San Francisco Police had requested that the J.C.C. evacuate, as well.

In Moscow Mills, Mo., an administrator and a teacher at Troy South Middle School received the email threat, prompting the school to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and evacuate, according to Audrey Henebry, the community relations specialist for the school district. Ms. Henebry said that students were not told about the threat, but were simply told to follow fire drill procedures.

“We of course practice our evacuation drills, we also have active assailant drills that we do with just our faculty, so our faculty are very well prepared,” she said.

At the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital & Water’s Edge in Hayward, Wis., an employee received the threat by email at 12:29 p.m. local time, according to Cherie Morgan, the marketing and communications director. The hospital notified the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department, which responded.

The hospital, which has 25 beds, along with a 50-bed skilled nursing facility and 40 senior apartments, did not evacuate patients, but closed down its urgent care and orthopedic clinics, canceled scheduled appointments, and sent nonessential staff home. After staff searched the building twice, and the sheriff’s department deployed bomb-sniffing dogs, the sheriff’s department pronounced the building safe.

In Connecticut, a staff member at the Wallingford Public Library received the email around 1 p.m. “It looked very much like a hoax to us but we want to be very careful always so we called the police and decided to evacuate the building,” Jane Fisher, the director of the library, said. She said the police responded immediately and helped the staff do a full sweep of the building.

“By the time we were finished we were getting word that this was happening in lots of places, so that reassured us even more, and then we lifted the evacuation,” Ms. Fisher said.

An F.B.I. spokeswoman, Jacqueline Maguire, said, “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.

“As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety,” she added.

In a statement on Twitter, the New York Police Department said, “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.”

The San Francisco Police Department said it had begun responding to reports of bomb threats at about 10 a.m.

In Canada, the Calgary Police Department said on Twitter that after “a careful review of all the information available to us & liaising with other police agencies across North America,” it had determined that threats they also received were a hoax.

Some people who received the emails responded with a sense of humor.

Lance King, a photographer in Tennessee, tweeted a picture of the email he received, writing:

“Well, that’s a new one. I just got a random bomb threat via email, demanding bitcoin payment. Since I’m at the coffee shop now, I suppose I’m safe.”

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