NEW YORK — Police arrested a man in connection to the bomb threats made at local Jewish community centers and the Anti-Defamation League headquarters in New York, sources said Friday.
Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis, MO, and is accused of making at least eight of the threats against Jewish Community Centers, officials said.
There's been a rash of bomb threats made to Jewish centers across the county over the last few months. Hate crimes in New York City have spiked 55 percent when compared to the numbers during this time in 2016. The NYPD says the uptick was driven by a 94 percent surge in crimes that discriminate against Jewish people.
“Everyone deserves to be free from fear and discrimination based on religion, race, or ethnicity; that is fundamental to who we are as a nation," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race – whatever the motivation – are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal."
Officials say Thompson made the calls in an attempt to intimidate a woman after their romantic relationship ended, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York. Thompson allegedly made the threats and then tipped police off, saying that his ex-girlfriend was behind them.
He allegedly emailed the ADL on Feb. 21, and said his ex-girlfriend was "behind the bomb threats against jews. She lives in nyc and is making more bomb threats tomorrow.”
Thompson, a former journalist who was fired from the Intercept after he was found to have "fabricated sources and quotes," also allegedly made some of the threats in his own name and then said his ex-girlfriend had made the threats in an attempt to frame him.
"Know any good lawyers? Need to stop this nasty/racist #whitegirl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail," Thompson tweeted.
No arrests have been made in connection to dozens of other bomb threats made.
The ADL received a bomb threat at its headquarters in February, ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
“We are working with law enforcement officials to determine if it is connected to similar threats against Jewish institutions across the country,” Greenblatt said.
“This is not the first time that ADL has been targeted, and it will not deter us in our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate against people of all races and religions.”