On Thursday, December 13 around midday a local business in Helotes received an email alerting them of a bomb. According to Helotes Police Department the business received an email stating “My contact has placed a bomb inside the business. If the business owner did not send $20,000 in bitcoin then the contact would have his associate detonate the bomb. The bomb would also be detonated if any police arrived on the scene.
The bomb would not be strong enough to completely destroy the business but would cause multiple injuries.”
Helotes Police Department notified the Fire Department and units responded to Old Town Helotes.
Police and fire personnel blocked the roads leading into Old Town Helotes, secured the business, and placed Helotes Elementary on modified lockdown while police and fire investigated the building. No bomb was found and the scene was cleared within an hour.
The modified lockdown at Helotes Elementary lasted for approximately 10-15 minutes.
According to Captain Anthony Burgess with Helotes Police Department “this was an email that was included in a string of emails sent to businesses and schools throughout the United States. This email turned out to be a hoax; however, we take the safety of our community as our priority.”
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is exchanged on the internet between peers on the bitcoin network. Bitcoin is believed to have been created in August of 2008. The allure for some is the fact that Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that is not subject to a central bank or regulatory agencies. Today, 1 Bitcoin is worth $3,417.01 to $1 American dollar. This is down from a November 18 exchange rate of $5,560 for $1 US dollar.
Bitcoin can be exchanged for different currencies throughout the world and the University of Cambridge “Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study,” estimates in 2017 there were 2.9 to 5.8 million users using a cryptocurrency wallet.
The Helotes Police Department and Northside ISD remarked, “There was no danger to Helotes Elementary at any time. The school was not the target of the email.”
The string of emails remain under investigation throughout the country. When more developments become available, we will update the story.