A Missouri man has been charged in connection with a series of bomb threats made to Jewish centers in New York City, federal officials said Friday.
Juan Thompson, 31, allegedly made at least eight threats to Jewish centers, including the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters, in the last two months, according to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Officials said Thompson phoned in and emailed several menacing messages to the centers within the last two months in his ex-girlfriend’s name in an attempt to harass her.
“Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race — whatever the motivation — are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Thompson was arrested early Friday in St. Louis but is being charged in New York, an FBI spokeswoman told TIME. He has been charged with cyberstalking and faces up to five years in prison.
Federal prosecutors say they believe Thompson was on a mission to frame his unnamed ex-girlfriend after their relationship ended.
He allegedly emailed the Anti-Defamation League in late February, saying the woman “is behind the bomb threats against jews,” officials said in a criminal complaint. “She lives in nyc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow,” the email said.
The civil rights group received a phone call claiming a bomb was inside its Manhattan office the next day.
Officials also allege Thompson pretended to be his ex-girlfriend to make it seem like she was trying to frame him for the crimes. A Jewish community center in New York City said it received an emailed bomb threat from an anonymous email account on Feb. 7. The message said: “Juan Thompson put two bombs in the office of the Jewish center today. He wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow.”
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