UPDATE (2:50 p.m.) – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reports that it received multiple reports of threatening emails Thursday, including those sent to an Orcutt school and a Goleta hotel.
Alice Shaw Elementary School reportedly received an email with a bomb threat attempting to extort $20,000 in Bitcoin. Sheriff’s officials say the threat was determined to be part of a nationwide hoax.
Orcutt Union School District Superintendent Dr. Debbie Blow released a statement Thursday saying, “Let me stress that the campus has been examined, confirmed to be safe from threats, and all staff and students are fine.”
The campus was not evacuated during the investigation.
Blow said, “The threat indicated that if we took action to evacuate or call the police they would ‘activate the device’. While authorities felt this mass distributed threat was highly likely to be a hoax, I did not want to take action that would draw unnecessary attention to the school, so I chose to conduct a campus safety sweep without a mass evacuation. ”
The Ramada Inn on Calle Real reportedly received a similar email that was also found not credible.
Sheriff’s officials say they’ve been in communication with the FBI about their investigations and remind anyone who receives a suspicious email to contact their local law enforcement agency.
(1:23 p.m.) – Authorities say bomb threats sent to dozens of schools, universities and other locations across the U.S. appear to be a hoax.
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 emails had the subject line: “Think Twice.”
The Grover Beach Police Department reported Thursday that a business in the Central Coast city also received one of the emails.
Police said the threatening email demanded cash in Bitcoin. A check of the business found the threat to be unfounded, according to officers.
This morning we received a call from a local business reporting a bomb threat by email. The threat demanded cash in #Bitcoin. A check of the business determined the threat to be unfounded. Similar threats have been received across the nation today. #bombthreat @CityGroverBeach pic.twitter.com/kufGAnmxdj
— Grover Beach Police (@Grover_BeachPD) December 13, 2018
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said it had received reports of similar emailed threats sent to various locations around the county but all have been determined to be unfounded.
Sheriff’s officials said it appears the threats are originating from outside the United States. Anyone who receives one of these threats is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency.
Across the country, some schools were closed early and others were evacuated because of the threats.
In California, police in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and multiple other locations have been investigating similar reports.
The FBI said in a statement that they are aware of the recent threats across the country and encouraged the public to remain vigilant and promptly report suspicious activities.