Fake Bomb Threat Reported at Lake Placid School Fields

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Police Department, along with the New York State Police, looked into a bomb threat made against the Lake Placid Middle-High School on Tuesday morning and found it to be unfounded.

Timothy Seymour, the superintendent of the Lake Placid Central School District, the superintendents of the Moriah Central School District, and numerous other school districts throughout the state.

All received an anonymous email at midnight on Tuesday claiming that bombs of military quality had been planted in the schools. If the schools did not pay $100,000 in Bitcoin, the sender of the anonymous email threatened to explode the bombs.

“We have planted bombs on the inside,” the email, obtained by the Enterprise Tuesday, stated. “They were assembled by a former Military bomber. They are well made, hidden in plain site (sic) and remote detonated. If we notice anybody trying to disarm the bombs we will detonate them. We will only call off the bombs if you pay us $100,000 in BTC. Reply to this message for the address. If we do not receive a reply we will assume you are not complying and detonate the bombs. This is the only way you will be able to save lives. Do not test us.”

Fake Bomb Threat Reported at Lake Placid School Fields

The email was signed, “With all one’s heart, SWTHPL.”

The Lake Placid Police Department was alerted to the email at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, and they later determined that the threat was baseless. According to a press release from the LPPD, the State Police K-9, the LPPD, and the LPCSD swept the facilities and cleared the schools at around 9:45 a.m.

The office of Governor Kathy Hochul reports that more than 50 school districts nationwide received swatting threats on Tuesday.

Although several schools were closed on Tuesday as local and state law enforcement searched the districts for bombs, LPCSD students are on spring break this week. Before the premises were secured by police on Tuesday morning, the workers inside LPCSD’s buildings were evacuated.

Threats were made this past Thursday, less than a week after fake school shootings were recorded in numerous North Country school districts. In the threats from last week, none of the Tri-Lakes school districts were mentioned.

According to Seymour, the Lake Placid Police Department conducted a walkthrough of the LPCSD’s buildings the previous week as a precaution and stationed a police officer on the campuses of the LPCSD in case any additional swatting threats were made.

According to Hochul’s statement, swatting threats like these are fabricated acts of violence to alarm children, families, and school employees.

Swatting is risky and even lethal. In 2017, police shot and killed an innocent Kansas man after Tyler Rai Barriss, a Los Angeles resident, falsely reported a hostage scenario. Barriss received a 20–25 year prison term in 2019.

“I have directed the New York State Police to investigate these threats and work closely with all levels of law enforcement to identify the perpetrators, hold them accountable, and restore the sense of safety and security our children deserve,” Hochul said a statement.

The North Country schools are on edge due to last week’s school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, which claimed the lives of three pupils and three faculty members. After law enforcement bodycam footage of the Nashville shooting was released last week.

Lake Placid Police Chief Chuck Dobson said he thought more people were aware of the legal response necessary for school violence and violent threats against schools, which could potentially encourage “bad actors” to threaten schools.

“It’s easier nowadays to make threats of this type of violence because bad actors know what kind of response that law enforcement has to have because of it,” he said. “It’s easier to elicit that type of law enforcement response because we have to handle every threat like it’s the real thing to prevent tragedies like what just happened in Nashville.”

Seymour stated that the district would reflect on the incident after a debriefing with local law enforcement following Tuesday’s swatting threat. To reassure families that the bomb threat was unfounded.

He anticipates that the district will communicate internally about the significance of its safety procedures and externally with the community.

Next week, when kids return to school, Seymour said the district would continue to pay close attention to the well-being and safety of its pupils.

According to Dobson, the LPPD, the State Police, the New York State Intelligence Center, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are all now looking into the threat.

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“As of now, everything is as well-handled as it could be,” Seymour said.

In the wake of school shootings over the past year, LPCSD has concentrated on security. According to Seymour, the LPCSD just finished some security renovations in response to the school shooting in Uvalde in 2022.

The district audited the security cameras in its schools and evaluated different ways they could guarantee students’ safety while they are at school.

The district increased the number of security cameras and key card access pads to be installed close to school doors due to the sweep to lessen the temptation to prop doors open.

Dobson claimed that the district’s safety committee collaborates with the LPPD. According to him, extensive emergency planning has already been done for threats and potential violence at the schools.

“That’s what dictates our response and the school’s response,” Dobson said.

Dobson stated that the FBI and State Police investigation into the most recent swatting threats is ongoing, and his department is still waiting to learn the findings.

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