Arrest made in national threats to Jewish community centers
At least 8 Jewish centers threatened nationwide
NEW YORK – A jilted ex-boyfriend is behind at least eight of the scores of threats made against Jewish Community Centers nationwide, plus a bomb threat to New York's Anti-Defamation League, in an effort to harass and vilify his former girlfriend, federal officials said Friday.
Juan Thompson was arrested in St. Louis and will appear in federal court in Missouri on Friday afternoon on a charge of cyberstalking, authorities said. There was no information on an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
According to a federal complaint, Thompson dated the woman until last summer, when they broke up. The following day, her boss received an email purporting to be from a national news organization saying that she'd been pulled over for drunken driving.
The harassment got worse from there, federal officials said. The Anti-Defamation League received an email on Feb. 21 that said she was behind the bomb threats to JCCs and there'd be more the next day. On Feb. 22, it received a phoned-in bomb threat.
He also claimed she was responsible for placing a bomb in a Jewish center in Dallas, and he also emailed a JCC in San Diego saying she wanted to "kill as many Jews asap."
Federal officials have been investigating 122 bomb threats called into nearly 100 JCC schools, child care and other similar facilities in three dozen states.
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Michigan Jewish leaders praised the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in a joint statement:
"We are relieved and gratified that the FBI has made an arrest in these cases. We are grateful to Detroit area, state of Michigan and federal law enforcement for their continuing effort to resolve this matter" said Heidi Budaj, ADL Michigan Regional Director. "The unwavering support from law enforcement and their diligent efforts to solve the remaining cases bring us hope that there may a quick resolution of the remaining open cases."
These incidents have caused anxiety and concern in the Jewish community in recent weeks. "Ensuring the safety and welfare of our Jewish community is central to the mission of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and we are thankful for all of the local and national security and law enforcement personnel that remain committed to keeping our schools and campuses safe," stated Lawrence A. Wolfe, President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.
"We commend law enforcement for this positive development in the pursuit of justice in the wake of these threats," added Dr. Richard Krugel, President, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC. "Our community has deeply appreciated the many calls we have received from community and government leaders, and our interfaith partners, expressing concern and support in recent weeks."
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