ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Law enforcement officials call an e-mail blast sent to hundreds of schools, businesses and government agencies nationwide a massive hoax or a scam, and police said numerous locations across Georgia received the same type of e-mail threats.
Several Atlanta-area schools, government offices, and even businesses were disrupted Thursday by a variety of bomb scares; no word if they are all connected to the e-mail circulating nationwide, which extorts "bitcoin" currency through a bomb threat.
Some agencies have traced the IP address of the e-mails to Russia.
Atlanta Police, Gwinnett County Police, Forsyth County, and Troup County deputies are among numerous Metro and Georgia agencies that confirm e-mailed bomb threats were sent to local businesses and responded to the scene of those threats.
7 Stages Theater and Java Lords Coffeehouse in Atlanta's Little Five Points business district was one of "multiple" businesses in the city of Atlanta receiving the e-mail.
"[The email] said 'my mercenary has planted a bomb in the building. Send us $20,000 in bitcoin or we're going to blow up the building,'" said Mack Headrick of 7 Stages Theater, who tells FOX 5 the brief alarm briefly disrupted business for the theater and adjoining coffee shop.
The FBI released the following statement regarding the threats:
"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. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety."
The Cobb County Courthouse also received a bomb threat earlier in the day and briefly evacuated. No word from deputies how the threat was sent.
In DeKalb County Schools, officials confirmed threats were sent to six elementary, middle and high schools in the Dunwoody cluster: Dunwoody High, Dunwoody Elementary, Chestnut Elementary,
Montgomery Elementary, Vanderlin Elementary, and Sequoia Middle School.
The threats caused lockdowns and evacuations across the schools.
Brookhaven Police confirmed the threat to Montgomery Elementary was made via phone; no word if the threats were connected to the massive e-mail scam sent nationwide.
Some of the same DeKalb County Schools have received similar threats in the past few weeks in what law enforcement officials call "swatting," or prank calls.
Police agencies advise if you receive a threatening e-mail to contact your local law enforcement.