UPDATED: Park Record Building evacuated Thursday after bomb threat hoax
The Park City Police Department ordered the evacuation of The Park Record Building on Bonanza Drive midday Thursday after several newspaper staffers received what was determined to be a hoax email message indicating there was a bomb in the building and demanding $20,000 in bitcoin by the end of the day.
Police officers quickly responded, telling the staffers to leave the newspaper’s offices on the second floor and exit the building. People inside another business that shares the building were also ordered out.
The editor of The Park Record, Bubba Brown, said the email indicated a “mercenary” was in control of a detonating mechanism.
The email was vague in nature and did not explicitly target The Park Record itself. A Police Department lieutenant said the message was determined to be a hoax. Newspaper staffers and others were allowed back into the building after an evacuation of approximately 30 minutes.
Dean Berrett, the building manager, said the staffers at a title company were also ordered out of the building. Two other businesses in the building were closed at the time.
“Safety and take it seriously,” Berrett said.
Officers from the Police Department also checked surrounding buildings.
The Police Department checked large businesses and government buildings for anything suspicious through the afternoon.
Schools on the Park City School District’s Kearns Boulevard campus were placed under a lockout due to the proximity to the Park Record Building, according to a City Hall spokesperson. The Police Department was assisting the School District. A tweet from the School District indicated the lockout was lifted at approximately 12:05 p.m.
Lockout LIFTED at all Kearns Campus schools.— Park City Schools (@parkcityschools) December 13, 2018
The investigation continued into the afternoon. City Hall is requesting anyone who receives a similar email to contact police dispatchers at 615-5500.
A business in the Silver Creek Business Park, meanwhile, received a bomb threat via email, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies who investigated did not find a device. The agency indicated it was the only case in the unincorporated area of Summit County.
The business is an architectural lighting, design and engineering firm called Adaptive Design Group. The owner, Glenn Merlin Johnson, said the firm received two emails from two different sources just after noon. The messages were similar to the others ones, including a demand for $20,000 worth of bitcoin currency and a threat of a mercenary entering the building with an explosive device.
There were six people inside the office at the time, Johnson said. The Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly and determined there was not a threat, he said.
Johnson said he has “no idea” why Adaptive Design Group was targeted.
“It made me very, very nervous,” he said, adding, “It was very concerning.”
The Sheriff’s Office requested anyone who receives similar emails to call the office at 615-3600.
According to KSL.com, organizations in a number of other cities across the state, including West Valley City, South Jordan and St. George, also received bomb threats. There were also widespread reports of similar situations in other areas of the country.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.