Parishes, Diocese Caught in Email Bomb Hoax
December 20, 2018
DIOCESE—Lunch time became a cause for upset and it was not because of bad food on Dec. 13. 
Around noon that day, several sites in the Diocese of Rockford were caught up in a nation-wide email hoax containing a threat to explode a bomb. 
St. Rita Parish, Rockford; St. Mary Parish, McHenry and the Diocesan Administration Center, Rockford, all received an email that threatened to detonate an explosive if a sum of money in Bitcoin currency was not paid.
In each case in the diocese, the police were contacted and the buildings were evacuated. Schools on parish premises were also evacuated as a precaution. 
At the administration building, local law enforcement, the Winnebago Hazardous Devices and Explosives Squad and FBI arrived to sweep the building for anything unusual. 
During the sweep, deputies reported that other area businesses were receiving similar email as well.
Later in the day, the media began reporting similar incidents occurring in as many as 18 states in the U.S. 
Although the Winnebago and Ogle County Sheriff’s Office stated they did not believe the bomb threats to be credible, precautions were still advised to anyone receiving a threatening email.
The Ogle County Sheriff’s Office responded to a threat at Rochelle Community Hospital. 
The Diocese of Rockford issued a notice to all parishes and schools that if anyone in any office receives a similar email, they are to notify a supervisor.
The supervisors must ensure that local law enforcement is contacted immediately and evacuate their facilities until notified by police that it is safe to return to the respective buildings or offices. 
The letter stated the “safety of our employees, students and families is the priority.” 
The Diocese of Rockford and its Information Technology department continues to cooperate with law enforcement during the investigation into these emails. 
Students in McHenry and Rockford were sent home for the day and employees at the Administration Center were able to return to their offices around 2:40 p.m.