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Wave of bomb threats causes evacuations, anxiety nationwide

Image: A students walks in front of the Old Main building on the Penn State
A students walks in front of the Old Main building on the Penn State University campus on Nov. 11, 2011. Copyright Matt Rourke AP file
Copyright Matt Rourke AP file
By Daniella Silva and Pete Williams with NBC News U.S. News
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A wave of bomb threats were reported against businesses, schools hospitals and other locations in cities across the country Thursday, authorities said.


A wave of bomb threats were reported against businesses, schools hospitals and other locations in cities across the country on Thursday — causing nationwide panic and evacuations, although they all appeared to be hoaxes.

Police in cities nationwide reported the bomb threats, some emailed, some phoned in.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department said there were between 10 and 13 specific email bomb threats with specific addresses in and around Oklahoma City. The spokesperson said police were investigating all of the threats but they had not found anything serious so far.

Authorities in New York City were monitoring "multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city," the New York Police Department's counter-terrorism bureausaid on Twitter.

"These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time," police said in the tweet.

New York police later said on Twitter that there was an "email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment" and that no devices had been found at the numerous locations targeted.

Police added it appeared the threats were "meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money."

Bronx High School of Science was evacuated at 11 a.m. Thursday after it received a bomb threat by phone, according to NBC New York, and the school said students were being "well supervised at neighboring schools."

In Massachusetts, state police said on Twitter that they were also tracking "multiple bomb threats emailed to numerous businesses in the state." Massachusetts State Police's bomb squad was notified and local departments were responding, state police said.

"Similar threats have been received in other states," state police said in the tweet.

State police said in a later tweetthat there authorities were conducting risk assessments and there were no indications "of any explosives located or detonated to this point."

Separately, Boston police said in a statement they had confirmed an emailed bomb threat to the Boston Opera House.

In Florida, the Orlando Police Department said in a statement it was aware of emailed threats to local business and across the country. A spokesperson for the Broward County Sheriff's Office also said it had received threats to several businesses throughout the county.

"We are assisting federal law enforcement in its investigation," police said.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, a false bomb threat was made against Columbine High School, causing the school and 22 others nearby to be placed on lockdown, according NBC affiliate KUSA. On Thursday morning, a caller claimed to have "multiple explosive devices" inside the school, Mike Taplin with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said according to NBC affiliate. WSAV.

And employees at a Jewish Community Center and multiple branches of the Fire Credit Union in San Francisco were evacuated after reports of emailed bomb threats, NBC Bay Area reported.

At least two dozen threats were being tracked in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources told NBCLA. Also in Southern California, police received a report of a possible bomb threat that was emailed to a Redondo Beach business in the 3700 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard. The building was evacuated, according to police.

The FBI in a statement said they were "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."

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