A Central Coast school and a hotel received emails Thursday demanding bitcoin payments and threatening to detonate bombs if their demands were not met, as part of a possibly worldwide failed extortion attempt.
The bomb threat was emailed to an elementary school in Orcutt and a hotel near Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. At about 10:10 a.m., Alice Shaw Elementary School received an email with a bomb threat attempting to extort $20,000 in bitcoin.
Deputies staged in the area of the school and conducted an investigation, noting similar threats in and around Santa Barbara County. Investigators quickly determined the threat was not credible.
At about 11:15 a.m., the Ramada Inn in the 4700 block of Calle Real reported another bomb threat email. Again, investigators determined the threat was not credible.
Additional threats were received in the city of Santa Barbara, according to the sheriff’s office. The bomb squad monitored all of the threats against entities in Santa Barbara County and collaborated with the FBI, which is investigating the scam nationwide.
It appears the threats originated outside the United States.
In San Luis Obispo County, the sheriff’s office, too, issued a news release saying it received reports of bomb threats emailed to various entities. It is unclear how many, if any, entities in SLO County were targeted.
Investigators are asking anyone who receives one of the bomb threats to contact law enforcement and not respond to the sender.