British police detain suspect in cyber scare

A look at a threat that was issued by an man from London in regards to Laurier and Waterloo University.

British police have arrested an unidentified 22 year-old-man from London in connection with a series of malicious communications he exchanged on an online message forum in regards to Wilfred Laurier and Waterloo University.

Starting at 6:00 a.m. on Oct. 16, both Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University were on lockdown as the London police force as well as Waterloo Regional Police tried to determine if the threat issued regarding a science building was credible.

According to various academic officials, both universities were tipped off by the FBI who had been following the case because the language used on the online forum was similar to one used prior to the mass shooting at a campus in Oregon on Oct. 1.

Photo Courtesy of: TorontoStar

Photo Courtesy of: TorontoStar

The man in custody will remain behind bars until the police can wrap-up their investigation and determine if the post from Oct. 16 was meant with malicious intent.

“It’s my understanding that information coming from the FBI was more of a heads-up in that, ‘Here is a posting we are aware of, you need to be aware of this,’” stated Supt. Pat Dietrich of the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

Dietrich told the press in an interview Friday, that the post had been made to an anonymous 4chan forum with an accompanying image that was similar to one that was posted to 4chan the morning before the Oregon shooting at Umpqua Community College where nine people were killed.

Dietrich told the press that the campus was put into lockdown because “it is always better to err on the side of safety.”

According to Dietrich, local police were working with RCMP officers and the national cybercrime unit to look into the origins of the posting as well as the poster. It was from this, that police tracked its origins to London, England.

In an interview with CBC, Kevin Crowley, Waterloo University’s communications director, stated that the university was informed between five and six a.m., with plans for the lockdown implemented by six a.m.

In addition, there weren’t many students present on campus due to it being the University’s fall reading week. According to Crowley, “We do have somewhere around 200 students who have remained on campus in residence buildings, so they’re all accounted for. We’ve been in touch with them personally in the buildings that they’re in,” said Crowley. “We’ve connected with them via email and Twitter, and our website and our emergency notification system. We’re confident that everyone on campus is aware of the lockdown.”

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