NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Dec. 11, 2023) – Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell says there’s no credibility to the email threats that have started making their way to local schools claiming to be from a Russian terrorist.
He says these general emails claim that explosives are being planted in schools in response to America’s support of Ukraine.
Campbell says he first learned about the Garaway District receiving one of these emails Sunday. But he was already aware of them going to other schools in the state and nation in the days prior to that. He has been in contact with other law enforcement agencies and even the FBI.
“It just seems as though this is a very stereotypical type of attack where some hacker thinks it’s funny to create panic,” Campbell said. “It’s almost verbatim as what’s bounced around in other states.”
Dover Superintendent Karie McCrate says she sent a letter to parents Sunday night telling them a couple of building principals received the threatening e-mail, and Dover police were called.
“Our families deserve to know what we’re doing with regard to school safety as well as just accurate and timely information,” said McCrate.
Meanwhile, Indian Valley Superintendent Ira Wentworth says some parents were wondering why his district didn’t put out an announcement about the e-mails. He says that’s because his district never got the e-mail.
“We’re always on guard when it comes to school safety and we’re always alert,” Wentworth said. “We’ve been in contact with our local law enforcement agencies, and I know they’re working hard on their end to figure out where these threats came from.”
However, Campbell says that might not be possible.
“That’s part of the problem with technology,” said Campbell. “We can trace the origination of an IP address, but some of that can be spoofed. There’s so much publicly available Wi-Fi now that people who really know what they’re doing are difficult to trace.”
Campbell says the emails don’t contain links or attachments trying to obtain information or money from recipients, they just appear to want to create panic.
Campbell has been encouraging all schools receiving the emails to remain in session.