On the evening of Monday, May 7, 2018, officials at the Eastern Sierra Unified School District received an email which stated:
Subject: Staff Notice (APS) Reply-To: APS Media <email@example.com> I will make this simple. 3 PVC pipe bombs placed under school transport will explode. I will then set off the main pipe bomb hidden in the school. Pay us $5,000 USD Via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you how to remove our devices.
The threat was immediately reported to the Mono County Sheriff’s Office. It was not specific as to date, time or location. The language used in this email was nearly identical to that described in an official alert regarding hoax emails that was distributed to law enforcement earlier that day. An internet search revealed that a group called the “Apophis Squad” was claiming responsibility for the emails, which were sent to many schools. This group conducted a similar hoax in April of this year. Their goal is to disrupt schools and create havoc for law enforcement throughout the United States and United Kingdom.
Even though it was clear that this was not a credible threat, as a precaution, Sheriff’s deputies went out immediately on Monday night to check every school bus. All of the buses were found to be safe, and there was no evidence of a threat at any of the schools. Sheriff and school personnel checked school facilities again on Tuesday morning and determined the schools to be safe.
At no time were any students, staff or school visitors in any danger. In this circumstance, we were certain there was no threat. To prevent unnecessary panic or spreading of rumors, Sheriff Braun requested that the hoax be kept confidential, and Superintendent Don Clark abided by that request. Once school was in session, the existence of the hoax was disclosed by Sheriff Braun.
Both the Eastern Sierra Unified School District and the Mono County Sheriff’s Office will take every measure possible to protect the safety of students, faculty and school facilities.