LONDON, Ky. — A bomb threat that included a demand for $25,000 to prevent blowing up a newspaper printing plant in this southern Kentucky city Saturday evening turned out to be false, company officials said.
A letter stating the Southeast Kentucky Publishing had been wired with several explosives was found on a printer at the plant off State Highway 80, across from the Kentucky State Police post, around 8 p.m., according to plant manager Jill Meadows.
Southeast Kentucky Publishing prints several newspapers owned by its parent company, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. They include the Sentinel-Echo of London, the Times-Tribune of Corbin, the Somerset Commonwealth Journal and the Richmond Register.
“We contacted the Kentucky State Police and we evacuated the building,” Meadows said. “All employees were moved to the Forcht Bank building next to the plant.”
A State Police bomb dog searched the building, but found no evidence of explosives. Meadows said as a precaution, the company put extra security measures in place. She said the bomb threat interrupted printing at the plant for 2 ½ hours but no production deadlines were missed.
State Police said they are investigating the incident, with trooper Steve Walker in charge of the inquiry.
The letter said:
“Good Morning, I’ll be brief. I installed several explosives in the building. If you do not send in the amount of $25,000 by May 31st I will blow up this whole block. If you try to contact the police, I’ll know. I also have access to your computers and email addresses. Go to the nearest Western Union agency and send the amount to Emerson Eduardo Rodrigues Setim. The passport number is FO645170. It’s a brazilian passport. The city that the money will be withdraw is Chicago, Illinois, USA. Do as I say and no one will get hurt. P.S. I repeat if you try to contact the police I will known.”
Meadows said the company’s information technology experts are checking computer systems to determine if any unauthorized parties had access to them but that she does not believe so.
“Looking at the letter makes you think whoever wrote it wasn’t from the United States,” said Meadows. ”Hopefully, whoever is responsible for this will be found and prosecuted.”
Dave Eldridge, regional publisher for parent company CNHI, said his office is working closely with the State Police in its investigation.
“Certainly any threats that compromise our employee’s safety are going to be taken very seriously,” said Eldridge. “Buildings and equipment are secondary; we responded quickly to ensure our folks were sent out of any potential harm’s way.”