Several Lodi Unified School District schools were briefly placed on soft lockdown on Thursday morning after receiving bomb threats via e-mail, with students and staff remaining in classrooms or other safe areas until police arrived and determined that the threats were not credible.
“At no time were students or staff in danger, and schools quickly returned to their regular daily routines,” LUSD spokeswoman Chelsea Vongehr said in an e-mail to parents. “Safety is always our top priority and we take these matters seriously. We appreciate the quick cooperation from law enforcement.”
Vongehr later confirmed the e-mails were sent to Delta Sierra Middle School and Bear Creek High School in Stockton, Lockeford Elementary School in Lockeford, Houston School in Acampo and Lincoln Technical Academy, Millswood Middle School and Tokay High School in Lodi.
Lodi Police Lt. Fernando Martinez said a few local businesses also received the threatening email, as did schools and businesses across the country.
“We just found out it’s a nationwide email,” Martinez said. “It said something to the effect of ‘we have placed an explosive package at your location, you have to pay a $20,000 ransom or we’ll blow it up.’”
The department’s school resource officers inform the school sites when a threat is determined not to be credible, Martinez said, although the schools may conduct sweeps of their campuses if they choose.
“To constitute a terrorist threat, they have to have some kind of means to carry out the treat,” Martinez said. “We’d have to see the IP address, and usually these (threats) come from overseas.”
The Stockton Police Department on Thursday said in a post on their Facebook page that several Stockton schools and businesses also received threatening emails that were found to not be credible.
The bomb threats went far beyond the local area.
Police in multiple Bay Area cities were investigating “numerous locations” that had received the email, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco police tweeted at 11:44 a.m. that the threats began coming in at around 10 a.m. and were being investigated, the Chronicle wrote.
“We have received information that several other cities across the United States have received similar threats,” police said.
The threats led to evacuations at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, among other locations.
Police in Oakland and Santa Rosa were also investigating multiple threats.
Oklahoma City police had received reports of at least 10 threats, NBC reported on Thursday.
New York police were monitoring several threats, but they did not appear credible, the department said in a tweet.
Email threats were reported across Massachusetts, Washington, Florida and Utah, among other states. Email threats were also reported in Canada.
In Colorado, the threat went beyond email. On Thursday morning, a caller claimed to have “multiple explosive devices” inside the school, NBC affiliate WSAV reported.
Lodi Living Editor Kyla Cathey contributed to this report.