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Extortion Email Demands Money, Threatens Violence at Florida Colleges

Several Florida universities received an extortion email Tuesday morning, demanding money and threatening bombings and mass shootings.

Extortion Email Demands Money, Threatens Violence at Florida Colleges

The sender demanded the money in bitcoin, an untraceable digital currency.

An extortion email was sent to several Florida universities on Tuesday morning, demanding money and promising violence if the demand is not met.

The 1,250-word email message was sent to Hillsborough Community College, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, the University of North Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast University, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

While the email did not reference a specific campus, it demanded a payment of 1.2 bitcoin, an untraceable digital currency, which is equivalent to $18,035.

The email said if the monetary demand is not met, the sender will make repeated false threats of bombings and mass shootings.

“One of these threats will be legitimate. Which one will be a surprise. You will be forced to evacuate the campus,” reads the email. “Every night I will roll a single die. If a six comes up, I will instruct my compatriots to follow through on the attack and kill as many people as possible. It will be public knowledge that you failed to take this threat seriously.”

The email threat is being investigated by campus police departments and the FBI. It is still unclear whether the threat was limited to Florida universities.

“We’re just encouraging the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity that could represent a threat to public safety, and we’re deferring any campus security concerns to the campuses,” says Andrea Aprea, public affairs specialist for the FBI Tampa Division.

HCC president Ken Atwater sent out an email on Wednesday advising the community of the threat.

“Unfortunately, emails of this nature are becoming increasingly common,” the email read. “I do want to assure you, however, that all threats against the college are treated with the utmost gravity.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes says although UF schools get these threats often, this one appeared to be more organized.

UF reported the email to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“After they conferred, they basically determined that this is a scam,” says Sikes. “It does allow us to use it as a reminder that if people see something, they should say something.”

About the Author

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Amy Rock is the Campus Safety Web Editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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