BOULDER, Colo. – A Jewish teenager arrested last month in Israel who is accused of making bomb threats to more than 100 Jewish community centers across the country has also been linked to the two threats made at Boulder’s Jewish center in recent months, police said Friday.
Boulder Police spokeswoman Laurie Ogden confirmed that the 18-year-old, who has still not been publicly identified, is believed to have made the threats to Boulder’s Jewish Community Centers on both Jan. 31 and March 8. But she told the Boulder Daily Camera “there is nothing concrete” with the investigation so far.
The first threat in January came via a phone call and led to the center’s evacuation; the second came via email. Searches of the buildings on both days turned up no explosives.
The teenager was arrested in Israel on March 23, but police have banned the publication of his name. His father and lawyer say the boy has a brain tumor that “could affect his behavior” and lead him to making “irrational” decisions.
Israeli police told the New York Times in March that the boy is likely responsible for the wave of threats that swept the U.S. in January and into March, as well as for threats made in Australia and New Zeland – all to Jewish institutions.
American authorities told The Times at the time that it’s likely the teen used Tor, a program that masks a computer user’s network origins, to throw authorities off his scent, and also used a voice-masking program.
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) toured Boulder’s center Thursday and met with its leaders.
“The Jewish community in Boulder and across the state have been extremely strong and resilient over these last few months,” Gardner said. “I appreciated the opportunity to visit with many of the people that help make Boulder JCC such an important place for all ages in our area, and to reiterate my full support in ensuring that the despicable acts of racism and threats of violence they have faced will never be tolerated.
After the recent spate of threats to JCCs like Boulder, we all must stand up against hate and violence and reaffirm our commitment to the American values that make our nation strong,” Bennet said. “Working with JCC leaders, we will continue to fight the fear that this community has felt, and support the incredible work of the people we met today.”
Two others have been charged in the wave of threats and vandalism: a St. Louis man who was a former reporter, and a Virginia man who was arrested earlier this week for spray-painting anti-Semitic graffiti on a Jewish community center in Virginia.
The Boulder Jewish Community Center was also sent a package with white powder that was found not to be harmful in April 2015.
The Israeli-American teen has yet to be officially charges.