Security stepped up at local Jewish schools after written threats

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida community is expressing concern and taking steps to increase security after, police said, at least three local Jewish schools received threatening notes.

Three North Miami Beach Police SUVs were parked inside Yeshiva Toras Chaim, a Jewish high school located off Miami Gardens Drive and Northeast 10th Avenue, Monday afternoon.

“We’re taking all the necessary precautions, talking with law enforcement,” said Zev Roth, head of security at the school. “It’s important to react appropriately, which means not to overreact and not to underestimate.”

Police said, on Sunday, the school received a fax demanding $25,000 in ransom, or else, the message stated, explosives planted at the school would be detonated.

“When we get a threatening message like that, we have to take it very seriously,” said Roth.

Officers from multiple agencies arrived at the campus and shut down the roads while bomb-sniffing K9s searched the area. No devices were found.

The website Yeshiva World News posted the note the school received. It begins by saying, “I’ll be brief. I installed several explosives in the building.” It then goes on to demand $25,000 by Wednesday, and asks them to send money via Western Union.

North Miami Beach Police detectives later confirmed Jewish institutions in Coral Gables and Sunny Isles Beach received similar ransom demands. The department posted a tweet stating they are investigating the bomb threat letters, adding, “We believe this is a HOAX.”

Community activist Yona Lunger said he is working with local law enforcement to ensure safety. “We’re not taking this lightly. The police department is not taking this lightly,” he said. “They have contacted a lot of other agencies that are looking into it. The North Miami Beach Police Department is handling this very seriously.”

If you have any information that could help investigators, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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