Multiple bomb threats made across metro Atlanta, entire country

ATLANTA — The FBI is busy investigating a nationwide rash of emailed bomb threats that went out to hundreds of businesses and government buildings, including several in north Georgia.

In Cobb County, authorities confirmed to Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that the threats caused them to evacuate the courthouse.

Threats were also made at Cobb County police headquarters, which also houses their 911 center and police precincts 1 and 4.

Patrick Archibald was at the Cobb County Courthouse to handle a traffic ticket when things started to unfold.


“I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about and then all of a sudden everybody got up and said we needed to evacuate,” Archibald said. “Nobody told me the reason why. I automatically assumed it might be a bomb threat or something.”

As it turned out, it was one of hundreds of bomb threats emailed to businesses and government buildings all over the United States, along with Georgia.

The emails claimed that someone had “hidden an explosive device in the building” and that a “recruited person” was watching that building and will “blow up the bomb” if he sees police activity.

The email demanded $20,000 in bitcoin by the end of the day or they would detonate the explosive.

The FBI is investigating, but so far, none of those threats has proven to be real.

When Elliot told Archibald the size and the scope of the apparent hoax, it surprised him.

“I think it is very … I don’t know, immature of people to do, but one, I feel like we have nothing better to do sometimes than just create chaos for others,” Archibald said.

After standing outside for about 45 minutes, Archibald said deputies let everyone back in.

Earlier in the day, five DeKalb County schools were placed on lockdown after police said someone called in threats to them.

Here is a minute-by-minute look at what is going on:

5:32 p.m.

City of Chamblee confirms they had three threats made via email today.

5:01 p.m.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said it is currently working six separate reports from multiple businesses and private individuals across the county who have received a bomb threat via email.

***ALERT*** FCSO’s Criminal Investigations Division is currently working six separate reports from multiple businesses...

Posted by Forsyth County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, December 13, 2018

3:40 p.m.

Gwinnett PD said they have received threats in their jurisdiction:

"GCPD is aware of the bomb threats demanding bitcoin via email. Gwinnett businesses have received the emails. We do not have a list at the moment. Our Hazardous Devices Unit (bomb squad) is not out on any of the calls and so far the threats in Gwinnett have not been credible."

3:37 p.m.

Atlanta police release statement about apparent threats:

"We are aware of emailed bomb threats being made nationwide. Multiple businesses within our jurisdiction have reported threats to us and we are investigating. We encourage everyone to report suspicious activities and suspicious items to police immediately. At this time we continue investigating these threats." 

3:35 p.m.

Troup County said they investigated two email threats made against businesses in the 100 blk of Corporate Park E and 100 blk of S. Davis Rd.

3:33 p.m.

Peachtree City police are investigating an email bomb threat to an employee at TDK on TDK Blvd. The department said it does not appear credible.

3:15 p.m.

Cobb County confirms the courthouse was cleared and has resumed normal operations.

3:05 p.m.

Calhoun EMA says the city has received multiple threats:

"We have received multiple bomb threats all over town. No dangers have been found at this time. Be aware of your surroundings but please stay calm. We have found nothing to validate any of these threats." 

3:02 p.m.

The FBI has released a statement saying:

“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.” 

3:01 p.m.

In Cobb County, authorities tell Channel 2 that threats have caused them to evacuate the courthouse. Threats were also made at Cobb County police headquarters, which also houses their 911 center, and police precincts 1 and 4.

2:50 p.m.

There have been at least four locations across downtown Atlanta where bomb threats have been reported.

Cartersville police said they are looking into a threat on South Erwin Street.

Across the country:

Bomb threats have also been made to universities, newspapers and television stations across the country.