Scottish teens charged in threats made to Calgary and Edmonton schools
Hoax surfaced in February through online calling app
Three teenagers in Scotland have been charged after shooting and bomb threats were made earlier this year against schools in five countries, including a number in Calgary and Edmonton.
Police say charges are pending against another youth in England.
The threats surfaced in February through an online calling app.
Nine schools and a bank in Edmonton, as well as five schools in Calgary, received calls, which prompted security protocols until it was determined the calls were part of a large-scale hoax.
Edmonton police say an investigation was able to trace the calls to the United Kingdom, where they were linked to more than 80 similar ones to the Netherlands, England, Scotland and the United States.
The three teens, who are between 15 and 17, face several charges each under Scottish law and cannot be named because of their age.
"The amount of school and police resources these calls take up, not to mention the distress they cause to children, teachers and parents is unacceptable," said Det. Philip Hawkins of Edmonton's cybercrime investigations unit, which spearheaded the six-month investigation.
"We left no stone unturned in this lengthy investigation, even across international borders."
The schools received a phone call in which someone with a Scottish or English accent threatened a gun or bomb attack.
"Calls were made that someone was going to show up at the school and was going to shoot the kids or that there was a bomb in the school that was about to explode," said Hawkins.
It quickly became clear that the calls, placed using an online calling app, were part of a large-scale hoax that had seen similar threats on the same day received by schools in Calgary and Texas, he said.
Within a week, the Edmonton team determined the calls had come from the U.K., and connected with law enforcement agencies there.
Investigators eventually linked the youths, who Hawkins said had been acting as a group, to more than 80 similar threats made in Europe and North America.
The investigation included collaboration with police services in Canada, the U.S., the Netherlands and the U.K.
With files from CBC Edmonton