By Alicia Venter
A 16-year-old former student has been charged with making a terroristic threat to bomb St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows.
The arrest came on Oct. 12, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the following day.
The defendant, not named by the DA’s Office, has been charged with making a terroristic threat, reckless endangerment and other crimes. Katz did share that the defendant is from Oakland Gardens. Furthermore, records from
St. Francis Preparatory School showed that the defendant had been expelled from the school in February 2022 for disciplinary reasons, the DA’s Office stated.
The defendant allegedly attempted to orchestrate a phoned bomb threat at St. Francis Preparatory School on April 25, 2022.
According to the charges, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a phone call was made to the NYPD Highway Patrol Unit 3 by a male individual using the name “Jake.”
On this call, “Jake” allegedly stated that he was a ninth grader at the school, and that he placed four pipe bombs inside the school.
The defendant allegedly went to the extent of naming said locations of these placed bombs — two inside a locker on the first floor of the school, one inside a male bathroom and one inside a female bathroom.
The school immediately evacuated its approximately 2,000 students, while police searched the premises. No bombs or otherwise harmful devices were found.
The NYPD Intelligence Bureau, in partnership with the DA’s Major Economics Crime Bureau, launched an investigation that led to the discovery of a conversation on “Discord,” an online social media platform, that revealed a conversation between the defendant another Discord user known to law enforcement about making a false threat to St. Francis Preparatory School in exchange for $80 as payment for the services.
In this conversation, the Discord user — who was later identified as a Polish national — asked the defendant if they would like a bomb squad called; in response, the defendant responded, “Just a normal SWAT… as long as the school gets evacuated.”
Law enforcement officials were able to trace cryptocurrency that was used as payment to the Discord user in Poland; police law enforcement authorities have been notified of the incident.
Officials were also able to link the username of the defendant to an I.P. address registered to an internet service provider at the home address of the defendant, as the owner was listed as the defendant’s mother.
“Bomb threats are never amusing, and they are never harmless. My Officewill use all tools at our disposal to find individuals who think they can commit crimes safely behind their computer screen and bring them to justice,” Katz said. “As alleged, the defendant went to great lengths to orchestrate an elaborate and realistic threat against his former high school, placing thousands of students and their families in fear for their lives. This behavior will not stand, and the defendant has now been charged accordingly. I thank our partners at the NYPD for their dedication in holding alleged perpetrators accountable.”