'Hoax' Bomb Threats Across NYC, U.S. Demand Bitcoin Payments - NBC New York

'Hoax' Bomb Threats Across NYC, U.S. Demand Bitcoin Payments

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Threats Sent Across Tri State Considered Hoax

    A slew of bomb threats demanding bitcoin sent to schools, businesses and other locations across New York City and the tri-state were part of a national pattern -- and they were a hoax, police say. Checkey Beckford and Jonathan Dienst report.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018)

    What to Know

    • Schools, businesses and community centers in New York City and across the tri-state have received hoax threats demanding bitcoin payments

    • They're part of a nationwide pattern of similar threats received by email or phone on Thursday, according to officials

    • Authorities don't believe the threats to be credible and say they're likely a hoax

    The bomb threats sent to schools and businesses around the country Thursday afternoon promised that "there will be many wounded people" unless its recipient sent $20,000 in bitcoin, according to the text of the note obtained by News 4 New York.

    The apparnet emails were sent to dozens if not hundreds of locations around the country, including at least 30 to 40 spots in New York City. They appeared to have been sent out robo-style, with seemingly no rhyme or reason for those targeted. The NYPD said the threats are not credible and are likely a hoax -- and no devices have been recovered at the locations in the city.

    High schools and businesses in Connecticut and New Jersey also received them as have scores of addresses from Florida to California. 

    Police officials told News 4 the email threats received in New York were consistent with those around the country, and at least 40 were sent to entitities in New York City. The NYPD responded to "numerous" calls Thursday; the NYPD's Intelligence Bureau is investigating along with the FBI.

    A law enforcement source provided News 4 New York the text of one of the notes, though it is not clear if its contents are the same as the others. 

    In the note, an unnamed menace threatens to detonate a well-hidden and compact explosive unless the recipient sends the untraceable cryptocurrency.

    "If any suspicious activity, panic or emergency is noticed the device will be blown up. I can withdraw my recruited person if you pay," the threat states. "You send me 20,000 USD in BTC [Bitcoin] and the device will not detonate."

    The FBI said in a statement that it is aware of 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 agency said.

    No arrests have been made in the case and it's not clear if any of the threats nationwide have been deemed credible.

    The Bronx High School of Science was the recipient of a bomb threat Thursday morning, but it's not immediately clear if it was tied to the nationwide scare. In that incident, the threat was phoned in from out of state, and a secretary picked up the call. 

    The school was evacuated and officials said students were "well supervised at neighboring schools." The NYPD's ESU searched the school and deemed it safe, and was considered all clear. 

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