Three teenagers from Scotland have been charged after a series of false bomb and shooting threats were made against schools around the world earlier this year, including institutions in Edmonton and Calgary.
Charges are also pending against a fourth youth from England.
The Edmonton Police Service said several of the region’s schools received phone calls threatening an impending attack on February 11, 2019. The schools were placed on alert, and some initiated lockdowns while police responded.
The threats turned out to be hoaxes, and police have referred to it as a “swatting” incident.
Five schools in Calgary were also targeted, and a total of nine Edmonton schools and one bank received similar hoax phone calls during three days in February 2019.
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“The amount of school and police resources these calls take up, not to mention the distress they cause to children, teachers, and parents, is unacceptable,” said Det. Philip Hawkins, with EPS.
The calls were made using an app, and the callers reportedly had a Scottish or British accent, according to police. It became clear the calls were part of a large-scale hoax, and the EPS Cyber Crime Investigations Unit began looking into them.
They traced the numbers back to Britain, and by working with international police organizations they learned the calls could be linked to more than 80 similar hoax calls made to the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and the US.
“We left no stone unturned in this lengthy investigation, even across international borders, and three suspects are now facing charges in their home country,” Det. Hawkins said.
The Scottish teens cannot be named because they’re underage, but police said they’re between 15 and 17 years old.