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Bomb threats targeting metro Atlanta part of nationwide scare

Multiple businesses and government buildings across the metro Atlanta area were the targets of emailed bomb threats Thursday afternoon, police said, believed to be in line with hoaxes that were received in cities across the country.

Agencies in Atlanta, as well as Cobb, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, investigated the validity of the threats, but none were deemed credible. Some authorities said the threats were tied to ransom demands through Bitcoin.

In Atlanta, they were reported at several businesses in neighborhoods across the city, including downtown, Midtown, Little Five Points and northwest Atlanta. No valid threats were detected.

“We are aware of emailed bomb threats being made nationwide,” Atlanta police said in a statement. “Multiple businesses within our jurisdiction have reported threats to us.”

In Cobb County, authorities received bomb threats to the Superior Court building, police headquarters and 911 center, and two police precincts, Cobb government spokesman Ross Cavitt said.

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Cobb police was emailed a “very non-specific threat” that caused them to search all of their precincts, spokesman Sgt. Wayne Delk said.

In the end, he said, “it was not a valid threat.”

Delk said it was unusual for a law enforcement agency to be the recipient of such a threat.

“With these types of hoax threats, they’re usually to businesses,” he said.

Several Gwinnett County businesses received emails making bomb threats and demanding Bitcoin, police said. The bomb squad was not called to investigate and none of the threats were determined to be credible.

In Forsyth County, a similar tale: Six businesses reported emailed bomb threats demanding a cryptocurrency ransom, but none are legitimate, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Our preliminary investigation shows that these emails originated outside of the United States,” the sheriff’s office said. “We do not believe these emails to be a legitimate threat, but merely a scheme to get money from our citizens and business owners.”

The incidents fit a disturbing trend of bomb threats around the city, state and country also made Thursday. In many cities, officials said the threats were 

One DeKalb County school was evacuated and four others were placed on lockdown Thursday morning after threats were made against schools in the Dunwoody High cluster.

Authorities said the school threats appeared to be a case of swatting, which is intended to elicit police response and create public panic.

MORE: New threats against DeKalb schools prompt evacuation, lockdowns

Across Georgia and the country, there have been multiple reports of emailed bomb threats to businesses, universities and newspapers.

In a statement, the FBI’s national office said: “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.”

— Staff writers Ben Brasch and Amanda C. Coyne contributed to this article.

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