December 13, 2018 3:05 pm
Updated: December 13, 2018 8:47 pm

From Vancouver to Vernon, police investigating bitcoin bomb threats

An extended interview with Constable James Grandy of the Penticton RCMP regarding Thursday's email bomb threats.

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Police across British Columbia say they’re investigating a number of bomb threats targeting local businesses and demanding bitcoin in payment on Thursday.

Sgt. Janelle Shoihet with the BC RCMP said police were aware of and investigating complaints received by multiple detachments across B.C., and were working to verify their legitimacy.

WATCH: Police set up barricades in Penticton after bomb threats

In Vancouver, Const. Jason Doucette with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said investigators were also “aware of a number of threatening emails received here in Vancouver demanding payment in bitcoin.”

The threats, issued by email, are similar to demands sent to businesses and organizations across Canada and North America, Doucette said.

“We are liaising with local and national partners to try to determine the origin of the emails,” he said.

“No credible information has been located to suggest there is a risk to the public here in Vancouver.”

He said anyone who receives such a threat should not pay the ransom demand, and should delete the email.

But while the VPD said it had yet to verify any credible threats, police across B.C. took the emails seriously.

In the Okanagan, bomb threats demanding bitcoin payment were sent to car dealerships in Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops, the RCMP said.

Penticton RCMP Cst. James Grandy said the sender demanded a certain amount of bitcoin, and that if payment wasn’t made, then a bomb on the dealership property was going to explode within 20 minutes.

While police said they believed the threat was unsubstantiated, it still prompted police to barricade the area and evacuate three Penticton car dealerships and surrounding businesses as a precaution. Neighbouring residents were also warned.

Mounties said the bomb threats were received by the Honda, Hyundai and Skaha Ford dealerships. Police say they have actively blocked off the 500 block of Duncan Avenue West.

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