Reynoldsburg police checked out a threat about an “explosive device” emailed to Reynoldsburg High School’s Summit Road campus today, Dec. 13, that apparently is part of a nationwide hoax that originated in the Netherlands.
Director of Communications Valerie Wunder said school officials discovered the email in early afternoon. Students were placed on limited mobility by 1:30 p.m.
“It was a threatening email, so we followed our safety protocols and put the school on limited mobility,” she said.
She said Reynoldsburg police officers and school security personnel searched for any evidence of a threat and then students were dismissed at the usual time, at 1:55 p.m.
“We canceled all after-school activities at the high school and at Summit Road Elementary School as a precaution, so that we could conduct a sweep of both buildings this evening,” Wunder said.
Reynoldsburg police Chief David Plesich said the threat was “one of many” email threats that were sent to schools and businesses locally and nationally today.
“Our officers responded and provided security and intelligence to the school,” he said. “The authority to evacuate or cancel activities always lies with the school. If the school is changing any of their plans, it is out of an abundance of caution.
“Any time that school officials are concerned, our officers will respond and investigate,” he said.
Superintendent Melvin Brown said the police investigation determined the email threat originated outside the United States.
“The genesis of the emails apparently came from the Netherlands, with someone trying to extort money in the form of Bitcoins,” he said. “What people should know is that whether it is believed to be a substantial threat or not, we have to treat all threats the same - with an evacuation, or dismissal and sweep.
“It doesn’t mean it is DEFCON 5 at the school, but we have to follow our security protocols,” he said.
He said when students were put on limited mobility, officers and security personnel searched the building and the entire outside campus before dismissal.
“The email made some allusion to an exterior person that would be there, to make sure the threat was carried out,” he said.
According to a post by Newsweek, the same email was sent to universities and businesses all over the nation this afternoon, threatening to detonate “an explosive device” unless a payment in Bitcoin was received.
Capital University in Bexley also was evacuated this afternoon, due to an email threat that mentioned an explosive device.