Officials say bomb threats were received in multiple cities in Middle Tennessee on Thursday.
According to NBC News, dozens of bomb threats were reported at news outlets, government buildings, banks, libraries, schools and other businesses across the country.
Dozens of institutions across the country received email threats Thursday afternoon, causing evacuations and sweeps of buildings.
The bomb threats were all reportedly received via email and demanded the recipients to send Bitcoin.
Investigators have passed along a transcript of the message, which reads as follows:
“Good day. There is an explosive device (Tetryl) in the building where your business is located. It was built according to my guide. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to damage the structure of the building by this bomb, but if it explodes there will be many victims.
My recruited person is controlling the situation around the building. If he sees any unnatural activity or emergency he will power the device.
I want to suggest you a bargain. 20'000 usd is the cost for your safety and business. Tansfer it to me in Bitcoin and I warrant that I will withdraw my recruited person and the bomb will not detonate. But do not try to fool me- my warranty will become actual only after 3 confirms in blockchain.
It is my BTC address : (redacted)
You have to solve problems with the transfer by the end of the working day, if the working day is over and people start leaving the building the bomb will detonate.
Nothing personal, if you don’t transfer me the bitcoins and the explosive device explodes, next time other commercial enterprises will send me a lot more, because it isnt a one-time action.
For security and anonymity reasons, I will not log into this email account. I monitor my Bitcoin address every thirty min and if I see the bitcoins I will order my recruited person to leave your area.
If an explosion occurred and the authorities read this message:
We are not terrorists and do not assume any responsibility for explosions in other buildings.”
The FBI has determined the emails came from a Russian IP address.
In Nashville, the threats were received at these five locations:
- St. Cecelia Academy - 4210 Harding Pike
- Greenwood Cemetery - 1428 Elm Hill Pike
- Tennessee Tower - 312 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
- Chowning Square Apartments - 4141 Woodlawn Dr.
- Accurate Staging - 840 Cowan St.
One of the emails were sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation, but they quickly determined that evacuation wasn't necessary.
In Franklin, threats were confirmed received at four locations, including:
- Building with multiple businesses at 130 Seaboard Lane
- Building with multiple businesses at 580 Franklin Rd.
One threat was received at a business in the 2400 block of the Highway 41A Bypass in Clarksville.
Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin was briefly evacuated due to a threat but later returned to normal operations.
A spokesperson for the state said they immediately noticed the email was non-specific and that the English was not very good. The spokesperson said every email that he's seen has been worded the exact same way.
At this point, the state does not have an exact number of places the email was sent to in Tennessee.
Officials with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security said the email threat is common now.
"Send it to a thousand people, hope one panics and sends you money. It's very common now from ransomware and other criminals who want Bitcoin because it's so hard to trace," said Rick Shipkowski with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
The Assistant Commission of the Department of Homeland Security told News4 that if you see that same email from here on out, you can safely assume it is a hoax.
We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities across Tennessee and around the country, and continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to assist. 1/2— TBI (@TBInvestigation) December 13, 2018
As always, we encourage the public to join us, by remaining vigilant and reporting anything suspicious to law enforcement. 2/2— TBI (@TBInvestigation) December 13, 2018
"Even though this type of letter has been circulating throughout the country and, so far, has proved to be a hoax, threats are taken seriously and all efforts to ensure the safety of citizens are utilized," a spokesperson for the Clarksville Police Department said in a statement sent to News4.
Investigators said that all bomb threats should be taken seriously and the investigation into the threats are continuing. Just because this one isn't real, doesn't mean another one isn't, so remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.