Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

St. Louis man charged with making bomb threats against Jewish sites

Federal authorities have charged a St. Louis man with making more than half a dozen bomb threats against Jewish community centers, schools and a Jewish history museum, an unsealed court document shows.

The man, Juan Thompson, made some of the threats in his own name and others in the name of a former girlfriend, apparently in an attempt to intimidate her, according to a federal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney's office in New York and unsealed Friday.

In one threat, made on Feb. 1 against a Jewish school in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the complaint said, Thompson claimed that he had placed two bombs in the school and was "eager for Jewish newton," an apparent reference to the December 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a gunman killed 20 students and six school employees.

A news website, The Intercept, confirmed in a statement Friday that Thompson worked for the publication for a little over a year, until he was fired in January 2016 after it was discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.

The arrest comes amid heightened tension involving more than 100 threats that have been made against Jewish groups in dozens of states since the beginning of the year, which has led to a broad federal investigation. The threats, combined with recent vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in some states, have prompted fears of an increase in anti-Semitism.

Thompson is not believed to be responsible for the majority of threats made against Jewish centers around the country, according to FBI officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing. Investigators are still trying to identify the person responsible for those threats, who the FBI officials say is using sophisticated technology to mask personal details, like identity and the origin of the internet-based calls.

Thompson, 31, made his threats "as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate" the former girlfriend, and that harassment appeared to have begun shortly after their relationship ended last July, according to the complaint, which was signed by Christopher Mills, an FBI special agent.

Thompson made at least eight threats against Jewish centers nationwide as part of his campaign, the complaint said, citing Jewish community centers and schools in Dallas, San Diego, and Farmington Hills, New York.

According to the complaint, one threat, on Feb. 22, was made in a phone call to the Anti-Defamation League in New York. The caller, using an untraceable phone number and a tool that disguised his voice, said that there was C4, an explosive material, in the group's New York office, and that it would be "detonated within one hour." The office was immediately swept and no explosives were found, the complaint said.

Thompson, who was arrested Friday morning, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and was expected to be presented in federal court in St. Louis later on Friday, the office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a news release.

"Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race — whatever the motivation — are unacceptable, un-American and criminal," Bharara said in a statement. "We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who foment fear and hate through such criminal threats."

Comments
Video released of suspect in sexual assault of Pasco woman, 71

Video released of suspect in sexual assault of Pasco woman, 71

NEW PORT RICHEY— Pasco County deputies have released surveillance video of a suspect in the home invasion and rape of a 71-year-old woman on Monday morning.On Monday, deputies said a woman was checking on a home at 7437 Heather St. for the homeowner ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Young child struck by vehicle in Tampa

Young child struck by vehicle in Tampa

TAMPA — A young child was injured after being struck by a vehicle Thursday morning, according to police.The crash involved a pedestrian and a vehicle near Myrtle Street and Serena Drive around 7:45 a.m., police said.The child sustained non-life threa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition cancelled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under Preside...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: After hottest day of the year, record heat to continue across Tampa Bay

Forecast: After hottest day of the year, record heat to continue across Tampa Bay

Updated: 2 hours ago
Most Americans say Trump, Congress not doing enough to stop mass shootings, Post-ABC poll finds

Most Americans say Trump, Congress not doing enough to stop mass shootings, Post-ABC poll finds

More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Donald Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with most Americans continuing to say these incidents are more reflective of probl...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Survey reveals bipartisan support assault weapons ban; St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race returns to difficult climate; commandos come to Palm Harbor; Bucs address pass rush woes

The Daystarter: Survey reveals bipartisan support assault weapons ban; St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race returns to difficult climate; commandos come to Palm Harbor; Bucs address pass rush woes

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• For the latest legislative coverage from Tallahassee, keep checking The Buzz, which is updated throughout the day by the reporters of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau.• We...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

His words and his pleas are similar to what we’ve heard from others in recent days.Kids deserve to feel safe when they walk into a classroom in Florida. More security is needed. More boots on the ground would be helpful. Mostly, more money must be de...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Published: 02/20/18
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18