The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate a bomb threat made this morning regarding a SCAT bus.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. the Sarasota County switchboard received a call from an undetermined number. The male caller stated that authorities had twenty-four hours to determine which SCAT bus had a bomb on it, and then hung up.
Due to the Tropical Storm Isaac weather closures, SCAT busses were not running today. A thorough search of the bus depot and all buses was made, and no explosive devices were found.
At this time Sheriff’s Office detectives are trying to trace the origin of the call. They suspect this may be another instance of “SWATing.”
“SWATing” is a prank phone call to lure law enforcement to a fake emergency situation. The FBI and other agencies that have investigated similar crimes say the hoax is committed by manipulating computers and phone equipment. Criminals spoof phone systems to make the call appear to originate locally or hack gaming systems such as Xbox LIVE to select victims or send emergency messages over the Internet connection.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4922. Callers can also leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 941-366-TIPS (8477), or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com or via text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).