Entries in Bomb Threats (5)


University of Pittsburgh Threats: Scottish Man, Two Hackers Charged

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- A rash of bomb threats that plagued the University of Pittsburgh this spring have apparently ended in charges leveled against a man in Dublin, Ireland, with connections to a Scottish terrorism group who is accused of waging threats over the Internet at least 50 times.

Two men from Ohio who have claimed membership in the hacking group Anonymous were also charged in connection with the threats for their role in threatening to release personal information from the Pittsburgh college's computer system.

Adam Stuart Busby, 64, of Scotland, is currently in custody in Ireland on charges stemming from his activities with the Scottish National Liberation Army. Police announced today that Busby was responsible for emailing more than 50 bomb threats to the university, multiple bomb threats to eastern Pennsylvania courthouses, and specific threats of violence to U.S. attorney David Hickton.

The university was evacuated more than 130 times during the spring semester because of the threats.

Today, Hickton announced that federal law enforcement authorities working on the case had begun to suspect Busby's involvement as early as April, but the investigation took months to bring charges because of international subpoenas to Internet service providers.

A warrant for Busby's arrest will be lodged with Interpol, Hickton said.

Alexander Waterland, of Loveland, Ohio, and Brett Hudson, of Hillsboro, Ohio, were also charged in indictments released today stemming from emails they sent to the university in May about the bomb threats. The two men, identified as members of the hacking group Anonymous, are charged with targeting the computer the university's computer system and releasing personal data.

The two men were identified after they sent emails to the university's administrators promising to end the bomb threats if the university withdrew a monetary reward they had begun offering for information relating to the threats.

Hickton said today that authorities do not know why Busby targeted the University of Pittsburgh, saying that he had no ostensible connection to the school or community.

He was convicted in Dublin in 2010 of sending email threats from a public library to British airline officials at Heathrow claiming bombs were on two flights to New York, according to the Guardian.

Busby has been convicted of previous attacks and hoaxes throughout Great Britain.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bomb Threats Rattle Walmart Stores in Kansas, Missouri

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) -- Two Walmart stores received bomb threats on Sunday, prompting police to evacuate stores and search for dangerous devices, Kansas police officials said.

The threats in Leavenworth and Lawrence came after at least eight Missouri Walmarts received threats on Friday.

Leavenworth Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus told ABC News that someone called a Walmart in Grand View, Mo., to threaten the Leavenworth location.  Grand View Walmart employees called Leavenworth police at 4:27 a.m. on Sunday, he said.

"It's not how it typically happens, but nonetheless the threat is the same," Nicodemus said.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman released a statement to ABC News regarding the threats.

"We're concerned anytime someone makes a threat that might endanger our customers and associates," he said.  "We're grateful no one was injured.  We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.  We want to make sure everyone stays safe."

He said the company would also be working with law enforcement to find the person responsible for the threats.

ABC17 in Columbia, Mo., reported on Friday that Walmarts in Jefferson City, Nixa, Ozark, Raytown, Gladstone and Fredericktown were shut down due to bomb threats.

In all, eight Missouri Walmarts were threatened, according to KMBC-TV, ABC's Kansas City, Mo., affiliate.

Fredricktown Police Chief Eric Hovis told ABC17 he thinks the Friday threats are related.

The Fredricktown threat came into the Walmart there at 6:45 p.m., he said.

"It was an automated call, and the voice said, 'There's a bomb in the building.  You have two hours to get everybody out this store.  This is not a joke,'" he said.

Officers did not find bombs in any of the threatened stores.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Concerned About Growing Al Qaeda Bomb Plots

Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. government is highly concerned that 30-year-old Ibrahim al-Asiri, the man behind al Qaeda’s latest attempt to bring a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound plane, has been actively training a new wave of bombmakers and that these disciples, schooled by al Qaeda’s chief bombmaker, have fanned out to develop their own plots at times and locations of their choosing, ABC News has learned.

“Asiri is trying to train as many people as he can, that’s what has us concerned,” a high ranking official briefed on the new development told ABC News.  The new intelligence was the focus of high level briefings Tuesday in Washington.

An administration official confirmed ABC News' reporting, saying, “Asiri does appear to be training others so that, if he is taken off the battlefield, his expertise will not be lost.  He is not the only bomb maker in AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) to worry about.”

Officials are concerned that Asiri is working on other bomb designs, including bombs surgically implanted in terrorists, even picture frames and radios, as shown in an al Qaeda video from 2009.

The bomb in the latest foiled bomb plot that was delivered to intelligence agents by a double agent posing as a suicide bomber was described by officials as an upgrade to the underwear bomb used three years ago in a failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner.

Now being studied by the FBI, this new design is described as being made with a different chemical formula, with dual detonation systems to make it easier to set off.

Asiri, ABC News has learned, has stepped up training of bombmakers in the last year, in part because of increased operations targeting senior al Qaeda leadership in Yemen.  Radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone last fall.  Asiri is now apparently concerned that he will be captured or killed as well.

“It’s the spaghetti effect, they’re are hoping to throw enough on the wall that something sticks,” said a source who has been privy to high level briefings.

AQAP, al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, is known for its ideological purity and for carefully screening its recruits.  Yet, in the latest plot, a double agent was able to infiltrate the organization, posing as a suicide bomber, and then delivering the bomb to intelligence agents instead of carrying the device onto a U.S.-bound plane. 

The Obama administration confirmed Monday that the bomb plot, timed to the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, had been disrupted last week.

Sources tell ABC News that Asiri wants as many bombmakers out there as possible.  His plan is that the more bombmakers there are, the more plots there will be and the more potential for success.  Another concern is that this generation of al Qaeda recruits “looks like the kid next door,” the source said, and would not show up on any terrorism watch list.

Asiri’s desire to see his deadly legacy continue even if he’s neutralized has prompted an urgent effort by U.S. intelligence officials to identify and locate Asiri’s disciples.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pittsburgh Alum Arrested for Bomb Threats, Threats Continue

ABC News(PITTSBURGH) -- Bomb threats to the University of Pittsburgh kept the campus on edge Wednesday night and Thursday morning despite an arrest of a possible suspect.

More than 50 threats have been made against the university and its officials since mid-February, causing constant disruptions to classes and activities on campus along with evacuation of campus buildings and officials' homes.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh University police department and Allegheny County Police arrested Mark Lee Krangle, 65, of Hudson, N.Y., as he arrived to the Pittsburgh airport on a flight from New York on charges of harassment and terroristic threats.

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Krangle allegedly sent threatening emails to four professors at the university, and wrote that he was coming to Pittsburgh to get his theories about the bomb threats out to the public, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Hours after Krangle was arrested, however, the university received two more bomb threats. Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday evening, students were evacuated from a residence hall after a threat was emailed to ABC News' Pittsburgh affiliate, WTAE, saying "Tell Pitt cops - bombs are in the Litchfield Towers and in the William Pitt Union building on campus."

Around 5 a.m. Thursday, five more residence halls were evacuated due to threats. The university said Wednesday the investigation into the threats is ongoing.

Pittsburgh University police were unavailable for comments Thursday morning. The FBI and Pittsburgh police department are assisting in the investigation, according to a police department spokeswoman.

Criminal records show that Krangle was convicted in 2003 of threatening to kidnap, a felony offense for which he served prison time and was ordered to undergo psychiatric therapy. The court documents from the case are sealed.

On his Facebook page, Krangle claims he received his Ph.D. from Pitt, and offers a link to an e-book he authored about his role in the Jimmy Carter administration. He notes that the federal case against him in 2003 was caused by a letter he wrote to ABC TV, alleging that he had information about the 9/11 attacks before they happened.

Krangle, in his recent Facebook posts, tied the Pitt bomb threats to the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Pittsburgh movement.

A $50,000 reward has been offered by the university to anyone who can provide information leading to arrests in the case.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oregon Nursing Student Calls in Bomb Threats to Delay Tests

Photodisc/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An Oregon nursing student admitted that exams were the motive behind two recent bomb threats she called in to her community college.
Danielle M. Sylvia, 27, of Salem, Ore., told detectives she previously failed out of the nursing program at Chemeketa Community College, but was reinstated as a probationary student in January. Sylvia said she made the two calls, one on Feb. 13 and one on Feb. 27, to avoid tests due on the dates.

Detectives with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department used phone records to trace the calls back to Sylvia. Sylvia said she placed one call from her personal cellphone and the other from her landlord’s cellphone.

A call from a female was received by a Portland television station on Feb. 13. Thomson said the call wasn’t specific to any part of the college, so all seven Chemeketa campuses in the area were delayed in opening while officers secured them. Greg Harris, a college spokesman, said more than 5,000 students and faculty were alerted via the school’s emergency response text message system, as well as through Facebook and the college’s website, to stay away from their campus.

“Because there was no specific location given during the threat, it took police about five hours to secure all of the campuses, but it was found to be fake,” Thomson said.

On Feb. 27, a female caller reported reading a threat on an online message board, according to police. The caller claimed the message warned of a planned shooting in building 9 on Chemeketa’s Salem campus. Law enforcement evacuated the building, and the college cancelled classes for that location. Police secured the campus for six hours, but found no trace of a shooter.

“After the first threat, students were fearful and concerned for their safety,” Harris said, “but after the second, the feedback quickly changed to annoyance about the disruption of their education.”

Even though both threats were unfounded, police said they still take these kinds of calls seriously.

“We can’t afford to look at these and assume they are a hoax,” Thomson said. “We have to go through the process of handling each one as though it were a legitimate call.”

Sylvia was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and five counts of menacing. She is currently in the Marion County Jail with a bond of $35,000 and could not be reached for comment. She could face up to a year in prison for each count and multiple fines.

A third threat was called into the college’s counseling office on March 1, but Sylvia denied any involvement with that specific call. Police have determined that it is unrelated to the first two threats and are still investigating, but Harris said, after Sylvia’s arrest, he feels safer at the college.

“It definitely is a feeling of relief that we can get back to a normal level,” Harris said. “Our relationship with the police has been great and we’re so glad they could bring us some sense of closure with these two incidents.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio