Bomb hoax hits area, no threats found

Greg Fitzpatrick contributed to this story

WESTFIELD – Emergency responders across the country were busy Thursday dealing with bomb threats and ransom demands and the Westfield and Southwick area was not spared.
Email messages with “Do not panic” in the subject line were received at Stanley Park in Westfield and Whalley Computers in Southwick but no threats were found.
In both cases an email message claimed that a bomb had been planted by a “recruited person” who was monitoring the situation and would detonate the bomb if he saw “any unusual behavior, panic or policeman”.
The message appeared to have been written by a person who was not a native English speaker and demanded a ransom of $20,000 US dollars to be paid online in Bitcoin.
Westfield Police Det. Lt. David Ragazzini characterized the message as “blatantly obvious nonsense.”
In Southwick, the message was received by a Whalley Computer employee who notified his supervisor who called Southwick police..
Southwick Chief of Police Kevin Bishop said “An email was received indicating that a bomb had been placed in the business and that if a certain amount of bitcoin was not paid, the bomb would go off”.
Doug Moglin, a Southwick Selectboard member who works at Whalley Computer, was one of the many employees who had to evacuate the building and glanced at the email that was sent.
“It didn’t look very credible to me,” said Moglin, noting that the email included poor English.

Whalley Computer was evacuated but first responders determined there was no actual threat.
In Westfield, staff at the park searched the property without finding any suspicious items. City firefighters were not asked to respond to the park.
The same threats were made across the country. USA Today reports that similar messages “were sent to tens of thousands of targets nationwide to dozens of cities, including Seattle, Orlando, Atlanta, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, and Detroit.”

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