Police in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia have arrested 12 teenagers after a spate of hoax bomb threats that in recent days led to the closure of a number of schools – but by November 22, the calls were continuing.
The problem started on November 19 when there were calls to a number of schools in Sofia, leading to evacuations, closures of schools and deployment of specialist police squads.
One theory immediately advanced in the Bulgarian-language media was that at least some of the calls had come from teenagers who had been to a Jennifer Lopez concert the night before and had called in the fake bomb threats to avoid having to get out of bed after a late night.
By November 22, police had confirmed that they had tracked down and arrested 12 teenagers. Police established that the main reason for the calls was the youngsters’ reluctance to go to school, local media said.
Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said that the parents of those children who had made hoax calls to emergency number 112 could face fines of up 20 000 leva (about 10 000 euro).
In most cases, mobile phones – sometimes borrowed from another child – were used to make the calls and in others, public telephones were used, reports said.
But at least one centralSofiaschool was closed on November 22 after a call the previous day, and on November 22, another was the subject of a hoax call.
Meanwhile, Ivan Boyadzhiev, a security official at Sofia municipality, said on November 22 that if a school day was cancelled because of a fake bomb threat, pupils should have to make up for the lost day by going to school on Sunday.
“We have always been teaching headmasters that when there is a bomb threat and the school is evacuated, pupils should go to school on Saturday or Sunday; it is even better to make them go to school on Sunday,” he said, quoted by local news agency Focus.
He said that he knew of cases where pupils’ grandparents had telephoned false bomb threats because their grandchildren faced difficult exams.
Boyadzhiev said that if the practice was instituted of children having to go to school at weekends because of disruptions caused by false bomb threats, the problem would quickly disappear.
(Photo: Everson Silva/sxc.hu)