A former reporter was arrested Friday in connection with a bomb threat made against the New York City headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish institutions in recent months.
The threat against the civil rights group was made on Feb. 22 and forced the evacuation of the center. It was later deemed incredible. On Friday, the ADL of New York announced via Twitter that the FBI, NYPD, and NYS had informed leaders about an arrest.
Federal authorities later confirmed that Juan Thompson, 31, had been taken into police custody in St. Louis, Missouri. He is reportedly accused of making eight threats.
According to a federal complaint, Thompson dated a woman at the Anti-Defamation League 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."
Thompson appeared in a Missouri court Friday on charges that include cyber-stalking. A public defender accompanied him, When the judge asked if he would need the public defender going forward, he said he had some money to hire a lawyer.
Thompson worked for The Intercept, a multi-media website, from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired.
A statement on the site says Thompson had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.
"We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted."
"We are relieved and gratified that the FBI has made an arrest in these cases. We applaud law enforcement's unwavering effort to resolve this matter," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. "We look forward to the quick resolution of the remaining open cases."
At least nine states reported bomb threats made within a few hours of each other at Jewish Community Centers Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he ordered the State Police to investigate the threats. He also said that Thompson's arrest "sends a strong message."
"New York State Police will continue to work in close partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement to aggressively pursue investigations into any reported hate crime in our state," Cuomo said. "We will remain vigilant in our efforts to hold those responsible for these reprehensible actions fully accountable under the law."
With the Associated Press