State BCI assists in tracking online sources of school threats

School districts across the state have seen an increase in threats, causing closings, poor attendance, and arrests of those making the threats. This threats have impacted the Marion City Schools as well as Pleasant, which sent students home early on Wednesday following the discovery of a written bomb threat in a restroom. You can read more about issues around Ohio by clicking here.

Following the arrest of a 16-year-old by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department for five counts of inducing panic and one count of making a terroristic threat, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini, and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, Thursday announced that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) cyber crimes and criminal intelligence analysts helped law enforcement identify where the threats were coming from online. In addition, information found by BCI during the investigative process was given to Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless’ office on a different school threat.

Early last evening the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth Police Department, and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the New Boston Police Department received calls from concerned parents about a social media post from a Snapchat account in the name of Brie Savage. The post stated that New Boston, Portsmouth, Clay, West and Waverly Schools better watch out that someone was coming to shoot people at the schools.

Sheriff Reader asked for the assistance of BCI’s Cyber Crimes Unit and Criminal Intelligence Unit to help track where the threats were emanating from electronically. BCI personnel were able to trace back the Snapchat account to an address on State Route 23 in Portsmouth. Scioto County Sheriff’s Office detectives along with the Portsmouth Police Department responded to this location at 1:40 a.m. where two juveniles were detained for questioning as a result of this investigation.

In addition, other information BCI gathered last night in the investigation was given to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office for help in a separate investigation of school safety threats.

“We all take the safety of our students very seriously. Through the quick work of our cyber analysts, we were able to get critical information to local law enforcement that helped them make an arrest, and avoid a potentially terrible situation,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “I want to take this opportunity to remind law enforcement across Ohio that BCI is available 24/7 to help with cases like this when requested by local law enforcement.”

“I would like to thank BCI for the quick response,” said Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini. “They helped lead us to the location where the threats were coming from and we were able to make arrests early this morning before anything terrible happened.”

“The quick work of BCI and all of our law enforcement partners helped avoid a potential tragedy,” said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.

“Having access to information is critical. I appreciate the timely information the BCI analysts gave us last night to help with an investigation in Lawrence County,” said Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless.

Local law enforcement can request the assistance of BCI for investigative help 24/7 by calling 855-BCI-OHIO.

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