Man arrested in threats against Jewish centers, Anti-Defamation League

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Friday, March 3, 2017
(Left: Juan Thompson via Twitter | Right: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Left: Juan Thompson via Twitter | Right: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

NEW YORK -- An arrest was made in connection with the bomb threat called into the national headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League on the East Side last month.

Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri.

A threat was anonymously called into the ADL's office at 605 Third Ave., on Feb 22. It was deemed not credible.

Thompson will make an initial appearance in court Friday in St. Louis before he is brought to New York to face charges that could put him in prison for five years.

Investigators are working to determine the suspect's role in recent threats against Jewish organizations across the country since January. The complaint uses the term "JCC threats" to also include wider incidents involving Jewish schools and institutions.

Two law enforcement officials told ABC News that Thompson is not believed to be the main suspect behind the bomb threats.

Thompson is accused in what federal prosecutors called a "campaign to harass and intimidate." He's charged in New York with cyberstalking a woman by communicating threats to JCCs in the woman's name. Prosecutors said Thompson "appears to have made at least eight of the JCC threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate" the woman after their romantic relationship ended.

Those eight threats include:

Feb. 21 - ADL email threat

Feb. 22 - ADL phone threat

Feb. 21 - Council of American Islamic Relations emails threat, "bomb in the jewish center in dallas"

Feb. 20 - JCC in San Diego, email threat

Jan. 28 - Jewish History Museum in Manhattan, received bomb threat

Feb. 1 - Jewish school in Farmington Hills, Mich., received a bomb threat

Feb. 1 - Jewish school in Manhattan, two separate bomb threats of "a Jewish newtown"

Feb. 7 - JCC in Manhattan, received a bomb threat

The arrest comes as the FBI was growing increasingly worried about such incidents. Agents feared the volume could be lulling people and lead people to start ignoring the threats and stop evacuating facilities.

The NYPD also was worried that evacuations were creating large groups outside that could become targets for shooting or ramming.

"The defendant caused havoc, expending hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources to respond and investigate these threats. We will continue to pursue those who peddle fear, making false claims about serious crimes," said New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill. "I'm grateful for the collaboration between the NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and prosecutors whose cross-country investigation led to this morning's arrest."