Law-enforcement officials across Texas and the U.S. have received multiple reports Dec. 13 of bomb threats via email affecting local businesses, schools and other locations. Local officials in the Austin, Houston and Dallas areas are urging residents to report suspicious activity, but they said the threats have not been considered credible.
According to a statement on social media from the Southlake Department of Public Safety, the email sent to the businesses demanded Bitcoin to not set off the bomb, and everyone received the same version of the email.
“Fair citizens, we wanted you to be aware of two incidents we are currently working involving bomb threats to businesses,” the statement said. “We have received information that similar threats are being received across the county.”
In the Houston area, Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland, who works in media relations for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed there were bomb threats emailed to a number of different businesses throughout Harris County on Dec. 13 but said the threats lacked credibility.
“We are aware of recent bomb threats received via email here in Harris County and across the nation,” HSCO officials said in a statement released on Twitter. “We’re working with federal, state and local partners to identify the source. Residents are urged to be vigilant and promptly report suspicious, threatening activity.”
Gilliland confirmed the bomb threats in Harris County resembled the threats emailed nationwide Dec. 13 relating to bitcoin. He said no packages had been delivered, and all threats made countywide had been made via email.
“We ask citizens to be diligent about their packages and things, but this mainly seems to be an email-type deal,” Gilliland said.
In a statement on social media, the FBI Houston Division stated it is aware of recent bomb threats made in cities around the U.S. and urged the public to report any suspicious activities that could represent a threat to public safety.
Two businesses in the city of Sugar Land reported bomb threats to the police department Dec. 13, but both were determined to be unfounded, said Doug Adolph, the city’s assistant communications director. Adolph said the two businesses, located at 322 Brooks St. and 12505 Reed Road, received the threats via email.
The Round Rock Police Department said officers have responded to eight bomb threats Dec. 13, although none of the threats are considered credible. All of the threats were received in emails, and at least two are believed to have originated overseas, according to Nicholas Olivier, public information specialist for RRPD. There were no evacuations in connection to the threats.
Similarly, the Austin Police Department said it responded to 24 bomb threats on Dec. 13. According to APD, no devices were found at any of those locations and the threats have not proved credible.
Frisco Police said they are looking into emailed bomb threats at three locations, including the building that houses the regional office for Community Impact Newspaper, among other businesses. The threats are not deemed credible, according to police spokesman Radd Rotello.
Grapevine learned of two bomb threats, one against a business and one against an apartment building, both demanding money. Public Information Office Amanda McNew said the police department quickly determined the threats to be a hoax.
Details about the Plano locations was not immediately available, Tilley said. They did not include any known city buildings or state lawmaker offices, he said. One of the targets was a home-based business, he said. Tilley said Plano police did not consider the threats credible.
Reporting by Sherelle Black, Daniel Houston, Miranda Jaimes, Kirby Killough, Marie Leonard, Matt Stephens