'We've got to stop this:' FBI teams up with Wake officials on hoax threats

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- In the days after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, officials responded to more than 100 threats at Wake County schools. The sheriff's office and FBI said prank calls won't be tolerated in the upcoming school year.

"If we get some hoax coming in, somebody's going to be charged. Whether we want to do it or not, someone's going to be charged because we've got to stop this. It's costing too much money, it's disrupting too many classes," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Public Instruction, bomb threats have gone up 29 percent statewide.

Officials said every threat is investigated and the hoaxes are putting a strain on resources.

"Hoax threats are one of the most frustrating things we deal with on a day-to-day basis," said WCPSS Security Director Russ Smith.

The FBI is launching a nationwide campaign

"Think before you post," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Frank Nivar.

There is a new PSA where a man says he was arrested by the FBI and explains how the hoax has impacted his life.

A few years back, an 18-year-old Granville County man was sentenced to nearly two years in prison.

The FBI said he broadcast himself calling in bomb threats to various colleges across the country, including UNC-Chapel Hill.

Authorities are urging parents or guardians to talk with their children about the seriousness of these crimes, and to stay vigilant, and reach out if something seems awry.

"It's too late when we get the call that somebody's already been shot, but if we can get the information prior to this happening, than maybe we can stop that," Harrison said.