JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Authorities say bomb threats that were sent to schools, hospitals, government buildings and other locations across the U.S. appear to be a hoax.
Dozens of bomb threats being reported at news outlets, government buildings, banks, libraries, other businesses across the US, various local media and police depts. report; several police depts. say many are hoaxes but are being taken seriously as precautions. — Breaking News (@BreakingNews) December 13, 2018
The threats appeared to be from the same source -- an email, which News4Jax received a copy of from a business it was sent to in Jacksonville Beach. The sender demands $20,000 in Bitcoin, a form of online currency. The email reads:
"Subject: Better listen to me
I write you to inform you that my man has hidden an explosive device (tronitrotoluene) in the building where your business is located. My recruited person assembled a bomb under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to destroy the building structure by this bomb, but you will get many victims in the case of its detonation.
My recruited person keeps the territory under the control. If he notices any unnatural behavior, panic or policemen the bomb will be blown up.
I can withdraw my mercenary if you pay. You send me 20'000 usd in BTC and the device will not detonate, but don't try to deceive me -I guarantee you that I will call off my recruited person only after 3 confirmations in blockchain network.
My payment details (btc address): 1Hov6Xo2Bss7K3p56gGKfy7UGY37TfXG2k
You must solve problems with the transfer by the end of the workday, if the workday is over and people start leaving the building the device will explode.
Nothing personal this is just a business, if I do not see the bitcoins and a bomb detonates, other companies will transfer me a lot more, because it isnt an isolated case.
I wont enter this email. I monitor my Bitcoin wallet every thirty minutes and if I see the money I will order my man to leave your district.
If the explosive device detonates and the authorities read this letter:
We arent terrorists and dont assume liability for acts of terrorism in other buildings."
A bomb threat was received at Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute in San Marco, which officials said was not evacuated. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said there were two other threats made in the city, but the exact locations were unclear.
Christopher Hamer is a Jacksonville internet security consultant. He took a closer look at the email.
"The thing to remember is, if you receive an email like this, if they give no specifics, nothing that actually convinces you, no credibility, then it's a scam," Hamer said. "Most people can't materialize $20,000 in Bitcoin overnight. You can't. The exchange is not set up that way."
Fraser Memorial Hospital in Macclenny was evacuated because of an emailed bomb threat, according to officials. The Baker County Sheriff's Office says the threat was received by email. The JSO Bomb Squad was called to check the hospital. Patients of Fraser and the adjoining Frank Wells Nursing home were also evacuated.
According to the Baker County Press, bomb-sniffing dogs cleared about half the facility. Patients were sent to a detached facility and expected to return by 4 p.m. after the hospital was cleared.
According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office, three buildings received bomb threats. They include the Green Cove Springs Administration Building, a law office on North Orange Avenue and Solano Cycles on Blanding Boulevard.
NEWS ALERT: We are currently aware of and investigating bomb threats being made in our county, throughout Florida and even across the nation. At this time, those threats in our community have appeared to be related to a hoax; however, we are taking these calls seriously. pic.twitter.com/f8ucIXF8Zg — Clay County Sheriff's Office, FL (@ccsofl) December 13, 2018
According to Sheriff Bill Leeper with the Nassau County Sheriff's Office, emailed bomb threats were received in Fernandina Beach. One was sent to the Quality Health nursing home, while another was sent to an unspecified business.
St. Johns County
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says bomb threats were received at five businesses. All the threats involve the same non-specific emails that make a demand and direct the recipient to open a link.
These email threats have been sent to multiple places statewide, and are demanding large amounts of money to avoid detonation of the bomb . At this time, it is believed to be a nationwide series of threats with similar wording and is the beginning of an extortion hoax. pic.twitter.com/5P5d4E5uAn — SJSO (@SJSOPIO) December 13, 2018
Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.