Police say bomb threats across Calgary a hoax as authorities across North America investigate similar reports
Calgary police say the bomb threats sent to more than a dozen locations throughout the city Thursday afternoon were a hoax.
At least 15 locations across the city of Calgary were targeted in what appeared to be a mass bomb threat situation that spanned North America, police said.
In a tweet just before 4 p.m., CPS said, “After a careful review of all the information available to us and liaising with other police agencies across North America, we have determined the bomb threats received in Calgary today are a hoax.
“We continue to investigate but are confident there is no threat to public safety,” police said.
“We have yet to determine the source and we still need to assess whether or not there’s more individuals out there that have received this email,” Insp. Melanie Oncescu said in a news conference.
“But in terms of establishing that it’s a phishing scam — [it] was the volume and the number of individuals across North America that received this same email.”
Alberta RCMP also said in a release that it was investigating email bomb threats sent throughout Alberta, adding the threats demanded Bitcoin as payment.
“If you have been the recipient of one of these email threats, please do not respond to the Bitcoin demand.”
Calgary police said they were not aware of any person or business that fell victim to the scam by sending the Bitcoin.
“Investigators are working with law enforcement partners across North America and abroad to determine the origin of the email,” CPS said.
Officers and police vehicles could be seen outside the Calgary Tower as of 2 p.m.
As of 2:30 p.m. police said there were no road closures related to the threats.
In a tweet, CPS said there was no reason to believe the threats were credible, but the force was responding to each as if they were real out of an abundance of caution. Specific locations were not released for safety reasons, police said.
“Similar threats are being received across the continent and are believed to be connected,” CPS said in a release.
“The threats are being received by email and they have been sent to various locations throughout the morning.”
Police said as of 1:40 p.m., no high-profile locations had been targeted, as most bomb threats were called at what appeared to be random businesses across the city.
“At this point the only people who have contacted CPS are businesses. We have not received any reports that any individuals received these emails,” Oncescu said, adding that all the businesses seemed random and had no connections to each other.
In another tweet, police assured Calgarians that wait times for emergency calls wouldn’t be impacted, but response time to some calls may be delayed.
“Yes, it was resource intensive, but we have a great team here so between the investigators and cyber crime and patrol, we were able to assess the situation and determine what our approach would be,” Oncescu said.
“We need to make sure that Calgarians are safe and we need to follow protocol to respond appropriately and make sure that there isn’t any actual threat.”
Oncescu said there may be others in the city, businesses or individuals, who may have received the email and not reported it to police. Anyone who has received the email is asked not to delete it, and to call the Calgary police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
Calgary police investigators will continue to gather intel and complaints which will be accumulated and handed over to the RCMP, Oncescu said.
Similar threats were reported in Toronto and Penticton, B.C.
Businesses and schools across the U.S. were evacuated because of a bomb threat hoax, as authorities reported bomb threats being sent to dozens of schools and businesses.
Officials in Atlanta, New Orleans, Palm Beach County, Idaho and Anchorage, Alaska, said businesses received emailed bomb threats Thursday that were part of what they believed to be a nationwide hoax. None of those threats were considered credible.
Police in New York said recipients were being told to send money and that authorities didn’t consider the threats to be credible.
Police are working with the FBI to investigate every threat.
Calgary police are expected to give an update on the bomb threats situation at 5 p.m. MT.
— With files from The Associated Press
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