Teenager charged after threats received at North Sydney school, NSW

Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged a teenage boy over an alleged copycat threat, as investigations continue into threatening emails received by schools across NSW last week.

On Tuesday (27 October 2020), more than 20 high schools across Sydney received an anonymous email which outlined threats toward the school.

The following day (Wednesday 28 October 2020), more than 10 high schools in regional NSW received a similar email.

On Thursday (29 October 2020), a threat was received by a North Sydney school, which was inconsistent with those received earlier in the week.

Police were contacted and the schools enacted their emergency response plans, which included evacuations, causing significant disruptions to students and staff members.

Local officers, assisted by specialist police, conducted extensive searches at each of the schools, and no items of interest were located.

Detectives from the Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Rolum to investigate the circumstances and origins of the emails.

Following extensive inquiries, Cybercrime Squad detectives executed a search warrant at a Southern Sydney home and arrested a teenage boy, about 7am today (Wednesday 4 November 2020).

During the arrest, the boy allegedly spat on an NSW Police Force civilian employee.

Several electronic devices, including computers and mobile phones, were seized and will undergo further examination.

The teenager was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with use carriage service to threaten to kill, use carriage service to make hoax threat and common assault.

Police will allege in court that the boy sent threatening emails and made a threatening phone call to a North Sydney school on Thursday 29 October 2020.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Cybercrime Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Gordon Arbinja, said investigations under Strike Force Rolum are continuing.

“Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances and origins of the other email threats – which we believe are separate and unrelated to the North Sydney incident,” Det A/Supt Arbinja said.

“Today’s arrest is indicative of the seriousness of making such threats, with the offence carrying a maximum penalty of up to ten years in prison.

“The NSW Police Force and the Department of Education are committed to the safety of students and staff and will act swiftly to any threat to harm any member of any school community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.