Federal authorities have charged Juan Thompson, a man from St. Louis, with making threats to at least eight Jewish community centers and other Jewish sites.
Thompson, 31, made threats against the centers as well as schools and Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters in New York City, according to a federal complaint from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. In a threat against a community center in Manhattan, an emailed bomb threat from an anonymous email account said Thompson “wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow,” in an apparent reference to the massacre in Newtown, Conn. Some of the threats were made in an attempt to harass an ex-girlfriend, according to the Associated Press.
Thompson was formerly a reporter who was fired from online publication The Intercept for writing fabricated stories.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports detectives plan to question Thompson about toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis in Februray. University City police declined to say if he was a suspect in that case.
Federal authorities in New York said Friday that Thompson has been arrested. He was expected to appear in a Missouri court later Friday on charges that include cyberstalking.
The charges come after dozens of threats have been made against Jewish community centers nationwide and after the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was vandalized. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement the threats are “unacceptable.”
“Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race – whatever the motivation – are unacceptable, un-American, and criminal,” Bharara said.
There was no immediate information on an attorney who could comment on Thompson’s behalf.
New York Police Department detectives and FBI agents partnered in the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.