Friday, December 18, 2015


By City News Service from the LA Daily News |

12/18/15, 11:38 AM PST | Updated 12/18/15 appx. 2PM ::  LOS ANGELES — A 21-year-old man in Romania has become a key figure in the investigation into emailed threats that led to the daylong closure of the Los Angeles Unified School District, but he said today he was surprised the email sent by an unknown person led to widespread school closures.

Vincent Canfield ::  CBS News
Vincent Canfield told CBS News he is from Augusta, Maine, but has been in Romania for about a week and a half. On his Twitter account, Canfield posted a copy of a subpoena he received from police in New York City, where school officials received a threat similar to the one received Tuesday by LAUSD officials.

New York officials determined the email threatening violence was a hoax, but LAUSD campuses were closed and more than 1,500 school sites were meticulously searched.

Canfield runs an email server that includes a word that can be used as a pornographic reference to male genitalia. [see following]  The threatening email was routed through that server and contained the pornographic reference in the address. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, said earlier this week that the word helped New York officials debunk the email as a hoax.

With the investigation continuing, Canfield told CBS the email server has been locked.

“The account can’t be logged into,” he said. “It means that the user can’t send email (and) can’t delete anything. So the account is pretty much just frozen at this point in time.”

Canfield’s Twitter page @gexcolo is filled with discussions about the school threats.

Authorities said Tuesday that the emailed threat -- which was also sent to various other cities -- was traced back to Frankfurt, Germany. Canfield said that’s where his hosting service is based, but it’s not necessarily an indicator of where the emails of any of its approximately 60,000 user accounts are sent.

Canfield said he did send location information for the threat account to New York City officials.

On his Twitter page, Canfield wrote, “I have no sympathy with the attacker but if a few emails from my meme email provider can shut down your SD, that’s an administration problem.”

The emailed message warned that pressure cooker bombs were placed in backpacks, and that, “every school in (the) Los Angeles school district is being targeted.” It also warned that dozens of people were prepared to take part in the attack.

Canfield said he was surprised Los Angeles shut down schools after receiving an email from a service often used for jokes and pranks.

“C’mon, it says (expletive) in the name, and you’re going to shut down a school district as a result?” Canfield said.”Take a look at the domain name, look at the site, look at where it comes from. Look at where my users are from.”

Though the subpoena sent by the New York Police Department warns Canfield “not to disclose or notify any customer or third party of the existence of this subpoena,” he posted it on social media. He also posted two audio recordings of phone calls he says he made to police personnel, in which they acknowledge that the subpoena was not confidential.

●●From … it now appears that both [LAUSD & NYC Schools] bomb threats were sent from the throwaway email address "" "" is an anonymous emailer service, [ .li is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Liechtenstein] whose website I wouldn't necessarily recommend visiting -- especially if you're not a fan of autoplay videos. Either way, the guy who operates -- Vincent Canfield -- posted to Twitter that both threats were sent via the "meme" emailer, and that he had received subpoenas trying to find out who was behind the "madbomber" account.

Canfield has posted the details of his contact with law enforcement over all of this, including two phone calls with police where he asks about the gag clause in the subpoena and is told that it's a "request" rather than an order. The first phone call was a bit more confrontational.

The releases also include the emails sent by the NYPD:

    Good Morning,

    Attached is a subpoena requesting subscriber, IP logs and other user information pertaining to a email address, which used to send a threatening email to the superintendent of the NYC Public schools. We are requesting that these results be expedited do to the severity of this threat, thank you for your attention in this matter and have a nice day.

    Detective Michael Arena
    NYPD Intelligence Bureau

No comments: