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Canadian teen found responsible for University bomb threat, arrested for multiple ‘swatting’ offenses

<h6>Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian

On Sept. 19, 2020, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) sent Tiger Alerts to members of the University community ordering the evacuation of Firestone Library, the University Art Museum, the University Chapel, and Nassau Hall due to an anonymous bomb threat targeting those locations.

Last week, a 15-year-old boy from the city of Saskatoon in the Saskatchewan province of Canada was arrested in connection with the threat. 

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According to a March 25 CBC News article citing the Saskatoon Police Department, the teen was arrested in the small community of Vacherie, La., for issuing the false University bomb threat. The student was also arrested for orchestrating a series of other anonymous “swatting” calls, or instances of false emergency calls alerting law enforcement of public dangers like bomb threats and active shooters.

“This individual committed many other calls to law enforcement agencies, schools, universities, airports, businesses, and personal residences, threatening violence with weapons had occurred and people were critically injured,” the news release said.

The release also noted that an investigation had been opened into the swatting calls by both Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officials at least two weeks prior to the Sept. 19 bomb threat, as well as a Connecticut swatting call that had been issued within the same timeframe.

University police contacted the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana through the FBI and determined that the teen was residing with his family in Vacherie. Local law enforcement officials obtained a search warrant and went to the identified residence on March 24.

“We had Princeton University Police Department participating in this, and we also had Connecticut FBI participating because they had most of the facts of the case,” an officer with the St. James Parish Sheriff's Office said.

The teen is facing a charge of “one count of second degree false public alarm for calling in a bomb threat at Princeton University on Sept. 19, 2020,” said Casey DeBlasio, a public information officer with the Mercer County prosecutor's office in New Jersey, in the release. 

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DeBlasio additionally noted that the teen is currently pending extradition to New Jersey, where he will submit to a hearing. At the time of publication, the teen remains in custody at a Louisiana detention center until a hearing date is scheduled.

The University deferred comment on this story to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and spokeswoman DeBlasio reiterated and confirmed past statements.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to clarify that the suspect has been arrested for his alleged connection to the threat and his involvement has not been proven.

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