Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

Federal authorities have charged former journalist Juan Thompson of 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. [Image from Twitter]

Federal authorities have charged former journalist Juan Thompson of 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. [Image from Twitter]

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."

St. Louis man charged with making bomb threats against Jewish sites 03/03/17 [Last modified: Friday, March 3, 2017 3:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. William March: Speaker Corcoran denies taking sides in House primary

    Politics

    From the outside, it looked a lot like House Speaker Richard Corcoran was working hard to swing the Republican primary in House District 58 to Lawrence McClure over Yvonne Fry.

    Just because his lobbyist-brother played favorites in a Hillsborough state House primary doesn't mean he did, said Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  2. 7 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit

    Blogs

    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.
  3. Police: Before a shot was fired after Spencer's UF speech, men gave Nazi salutes and chanted about Hitler

    Crime

    Gainesville police have arrested three men they say are responsible for the shooting after Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

    Texas men Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Henry Fears, 30; and Colton Gene Fears, 28 all face attempted homicide charges for a shooting following Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. (Gainesville police)
  4. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills

    Blogs

    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown against the Patriots two weeks ago, will start Sunday at Buffalo after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last week. Dirk Koetter announced that he was starting after watching him throw at practice Friday.
  5. Florida's 'Turtle God' is ailing. What happens to his remarkable collection of specimens?

    Wildlife

    OVIEDO — In a small town about five miles from the University of Central Florida there stands a two-story yellow house built in the 1920s. A modest sign mounted on the wall next to the front door says, "Chelonian Research Institute."

    The main room at the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida. - Peter Pritchard sounds British but he's lived in Florida for five decades, running the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida, which holds the world's largest collection of turtle specimens (some of them bones or shells, some of them live turtles or tortoises). Time magazine has declared him a hero of the planet and other turtle experts say he is to turtles what Dian Fossey was to gorillas. He's been instrumental in helping other species, too, including the Florida panther. He has traveled the world studying turtles.