Long Beach, Cerritos swept up in nationwide wave of emailed bomb threats demanding Bitcoin

A wave of bomb threats targeting businesses, schools and other locations across the country—including two locations in Downtown Long Beach—had law enforcement agencies on alert today.

But the threats, which came in by email, were not considered credible.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the agency is aware of the computerized threats and is conducting investigations, “but no threat has been substantiated.”

The threats demand a Bitcoin ransom be paid by the end of the day or an explosive device will be detonated, according to authorities.

The first threat in Long Beach came in around 10 a.m. That’s when officers were dispatched to the 100 block of World Trade Center in response to a call from an office’s management, police spokeswoman LBPD Arantxa Chavarria said.

Twenty minutes later, police responded to a business on the 400 block of Broadway for another threat reported by a property manager.

“The emails, which appear to have come from the same source, stated there was a bomb in the building and demanded a ransom amount,” Chavarria said. “I.T. personnel responded and deemed the threat non-credible.”

Officers also searched both buildings for explosives and found none, she said. Detectives are still investigating.

Similar threats have been reported in areas such as New York City, San Francisco, Oklahoma City and New England.

In Cerritos, the manager of a business named International Coating on 166th Street near Marquardt Avenue received an email shortly before 10:30 a.m. making the same ransom demands, Sheriff’s Lt. Tressa Gunnels said.

According to Gunnels, managers of International Coating found nothing out of the ordinary in the building. Detectives are still investigating where the email came from.

A Norwalk business, Apoyo Financiero, was also sent the same email shortly before 10:30 this morning. Sheriff’s deputies also found no explosive devices in the business.

In Orange County, Garden Grove police said the agency received several calls around 11:15 a.m. “from local businesses reporting a bomb threat by email.”

“The threat demanded cash in Bitcoin or they would blow up the business. Similar threats were reported in cities across O.C. These threats are unfounded,” Garden Grove police said.

In Redondo Beach, a building on Redondo Beach Boulevard was temporarily evacuated late Thursday morning due to a bomb threat, which police determined was not credible.

The FBI’s Los Angeles field office issued a statement saying it was “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. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

In Riverside County, a business in Palm Desert was evacuated due to an email threat.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement saying the department is “one of several (Southern California law enforcement) agencies experiencing an influx of email threats. (The department) takes these threats very seriously and is conducting an investigation into each threat. At this time no threat has been substantiated.”

That statement echoed one issued by the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, which stated, “We are currently monitoring multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city. These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide and are not considered credible at this time.”

One person who received the emailed threat at an unidentified location posted a copy on Twitter. The threat states there is an explosive device in the company’s building, and it demands a ransom of $20,000 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to be paid by the end of the day.

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