An emailed bomb threat against the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn forced the institution to evacuate Thursday morning, the latest in a string of targeted threats against Jewish community centers and other organizations in New York City and around the country.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence John Miller told CBS This Morning that police suspect one person is responsible for the majority of threats across the United States. Law-enforcement officials believe he is using a voice changer and spoofer device, which obscures the source of the phone call and makes it seem as if it’s coming from inside the building under threat. Miller described the offender as someone with “technical prowess,” and said the NYPD is working with federal officials to try to track down the perpetrator.
Authorities have arrested one suspect, 31-year-old Juan Thompson, a former journalist who called in multiple threats in an attempt to “harass and intimidate” an ex-girlfriend. Police allege Thompson called in at least eight threats against Jewish community centers and one against the Anti-Defamation League in New York City. According to the Anti-Defamation League, JCCs and other institutions have gotten 148 threats since January. In New York City, overall hate crimes are up 113 percent (100 versus 47) compared to this time last year. Anti-Semitic bias attacks make up more than half of those crimes, also with a marked increase of 55 this year compared to 19 in 2016.