Ex employee charged with staging fake explosion at Boston's Northeastern University




  • In US
  • 2022-10-04 17:38:13Z
  • By Reuters
 

(Reuters) - A former employee of Boston's Northeastern University was arrested and charged with fabricating a report last month that a package delivered to the campus exploded and injured him, the FBI said on Tuesday.

Jason Duhaime, 45, was charged with one count of intentionally conveying false and misleading information and another count of making materially false statements to law enforcement. He was arrested without incident near his home in San Antonio, said Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston Division.

Duhaime is accused of making up the story of the explosion and faking injuries by sharp objects he said flew out of a hard plastic case he opened. He falsely told investigtors that he found a letter with threats directed at the lab where he worked, the FBI said.

Duhaimes, who worked in the Immersive Media Labs, is alleged to have told law enforcement authorities he had retrieved two plastic cases among several packages from the mailroom in the building and brought them to a storage closet.

Authorities said a plastic case was discovered empty and undamaged, and accused Duhaime of drafting the letter hours before making the report to police.

Northeastern evacuated part of its campus and cancelled some classes after the incident, while other colleges in the Boston area urged students to be cautious. The event invoked memories of the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

"This alleged conduct is disturbing to say the least," U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said at a news conference. "Our city more than most knows all too well. That a report or threat of an explosion is a very serious matter and necessitates an immediate and significant law enforcement."

Duhaime's lawyer, Rachel Stroup, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The city was rocked by the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013, when three people were killed and more than 260 others injured by a pair of homemade bombs near the race finish line.

"We believe Mr. Duhaime wanted to be the victim, but instead victimized his entire community by instilling fear at college campuses in Massachusetts and beyond," Bonavolonta said.

Duhaime is scheduled to appear before a judge in San Antonio later on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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