Crime

At least seven Manatee businesses receive bomb threats identical to those sent nationwide

At least seven bomb threats were reported in Manatee County similar to a rash of threats received by businesses, schools, media outlets and government agencies across the U.S. on Thursday.

The threats were received by email and made demands for Bitcoin money. The FBI was monitoring the situation as law enforcement agencies across the country responded to the threats, which appeared to be a hoax.

“We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance,” Tampa FBI spokeswoman Andrea Aprea said in a statement. “As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

None of the threats were deemed credible, according to the FBI, Bradenton police, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies across the country.

Some of the emails had the subject line: “Think Twice.” The sender claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient’s building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin.

Other law enforcement agencies also dismissed the threats, which were written in a choppy style reminiscent of the Nigerian prince email scam.

Bradenton police evacuated the Bradenton law firm of Greene Hamrick Quinlan & Schermer, 601 12th St. W., Bradenton, just before 2:30 p.m. after an assistant received the email threat. Employees were evacuated and a K9 searched the building as a precaution.

At least six other threats were called in to locations elsewhere in the county and were responded to by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Bradenton and Palmetto police departments.

Locations of where other threats were received:

  • TDS Construction, 239 63rd St. W., Bradenton.

  • 3639 Cortez Road, Bradenton.

  • 4705 26th St W., Bradenton.

  • 1610 12th St. E., Palmetto.

  • Casa Loma Mobile Home Park, 105 52nd Ave. E., Bradenton.

  • Johnson Printing, 1104 Ninth St. W., Bradenton.

The Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are investigating several email bomb threats received concerning businesses in Sarasota County. No devices been found.

None of the Manatee County School District’s schools received the email, according to the district.

In Tampa, police said five businesses and one school received similar bomb threats emailed to them.

At least two newspapers, the Raleigh News & Observer and the Kansas CIty Star, received the same threat. In Raleigh, hundreds of people were evacuated by police from the 17-story building that houses the newspaper and other businesses, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Both papers are owned by McClatchy, the Bradenton Herald’s parent company.

According to Sara Glines, publisher of The N&O, the threat was made through an email sent from Russia.

Information from Herald wire services was used in this report.

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