Five bomb threats in Montreal appear to be hoaxes as police across Canada, U.S. investigate
Published Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:15PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:18PM EST
Montreal police say five businesses have been emailed bomb threats that appear to be hoaxes.
Police confirm the threats use the same language as a series of widespread threats took place across North America, though they can not confirm they are connected.
Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said investigators so far believe the threats in Montreal, which also came with ransom demands, are hoaxes. The businesses have been investigated and there was no real threat, he said. There have been no evacuations and the bomb squad was not called in.
The businesses are located in Saint-Laurent, Cote-des-Neiges, Rivieres-des-Prairies and Anjou, but police would not give precise locations. He said there was nothing connecting the companies.
"Each call was taken very seriously," Brabant said. "We sent police officers to the site, they searched the premises. We found nothing suspicious. There were no explosives."
Some of the emails in Montreal and other cities demanded $20,000 payment in Bitcoin.
"It appears to be a hoax, but we are not taking any chances," Brabant said.
Similar incidents across North America
The threats come as businesses and schools across Canada and the U.S. were evacuated because of of the threats.
Police in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Winnipeg, as well as RCMP detachments in B.C. and Manitoba, are all investigating multiple threats.
King Subway Station in Toronto was briefly evacuated after a bomb threat, and Toronto police say they are investigating numerous threats.
A spokesman for Toronto police said it wasn't clear whether that threat, or any of "at least 10" received across the city, were related to those in other locations.
"The problem with that thinking is -- if you believe they're related and this is nonsense -- then your investigation suffers and your response suffers," Const. David Hopkinson said in an interview.
"We know ... that a number of other cities have received bomb threats. To us, that doesn't matter -- we will investigate them seriously every time."
Authorities say bomb threats sent to dozens of schools, universities and other locations across the U.S. also appear to be a hoax.
The New York City Police Department said the threats sent Thursday were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and are not considered credible.
Across the U.S., some schools were closed early and others were evacuated because of the threats. Penn State University noticed students via a campus alert. Near Atlanta, people were ushered out of a courthouse.
Police are working with the FBI to investigate every threat.
- With files from Adam Burns of The Canadian Press and from The Associated Press