Jewish institutions have been the target of intermittent bomb threats since last November. On Friday, police arrested Juan Thompson, 31 for several of them. Thompson allegedly targeted at least eight Jewish Community Centers, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) New York office, the Jewish History Museum and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Over 90 more Jewish organizations have received threats, but law enforcement is not attributing those to Thompson.
Thompson’s motive, according to the FBI was to cause his ex-girlfriend emotional distress. He has also been charged with cyberstalking.
In July 2016, Thompson sent emails to his former girlfriend’s employer filled with defamatory information about her. Shortly thereafter she filed for an order of protection, which she has renewed twice.
Rather than leaving her alone after the protective order was in place, Thompson ramped up his harassment. He anonymously threatened to release nude photographs of her to the public, sent additional emails to her employers — including one which said she had threatened to kill him — and he called in a tip that she possessed child pornography.
Thompson also began a campaign to paint his ex as violently anti-Semitic. He began by sending anonymous faxes to her job, which showed a fake social media profile for her filled with anti-Semitic statements.
In late January and early February Thompson’s actions escalated, according to authorities. He sent threatening emails to the Jewish History Museum, a Jewish School in Manhattan, and another in Michigan. Thompson sent the emails from an imaginary third party, claiming that Juan Thompson put bombs in their buildings, and in three cases, said that “Juan” was “eager for a Jewish Newtown”.
Thompson allegedly switched tactics in late February, contacting ADL, CAIR and a Jewish Community Center in San Diego, claiming his ex-girlfriend had planted a bomb at their facilities.
During this time, Thompson was posting messages on his Twitter account in support of the JCCs and critical about the threats they were receiving.
Law enforcement was able to trace the IP address he was using. After interviewing and investigating Thompson, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
This was not the first time Thompson had pretended to be someone else through email. He was fired from The Intercept for fabricating quotes and sources; most notably an imaginary cousin of Dylan Roof’s named Scott.
A reporter for the Riverfront Times who wrote about Thompson’s termination says that Thompson harassed him. He claims that Thompson set up fake social media accounts where he pretended to be a woman who alleged that the reporter had sexually assaulted her.
Thompson’s own social media account paints a picture of a man who has antipathy toward not only his ex, but all Caucasian people. In the past two weeks, he has written on Twitter that “white folk are trash” three separate times, called them “vile ilk”, said they “have no shame”, and called the white media repulsive.
Thompson was apprehended in St. Louis, Missouri and is being held without bail. The Justice Department’s General Crimes Unit and Offices of Terrorism and International Narcotics are handling his prosecution