NYPD/Public Safety Catch Suspect Linked to Bomb Threat

A suspect was arrested in connection with a bomb threat to the Queens campus last night [April 3], according to Public Safety officials.

The St. John’s community suffered a minor scare yesterday afternoon when the Department of Public Safety sent out an e-mail notice announcing a potential plot to bomb a campus building.

“This is a Public Safety Advisory to let the University community know that we have received a threat from an anonymous caller that a bomb will be placed at a building on the Queens Campus tomorrow [April 4],” read the e-mail.

Dominic Scianna, director of media relations, said the Queens’ campus Department of Public Safety received an unidentified phone call at 9:59 a.m. on Thursday warning that an unspecified building would be bombed the next day.

Shortly after, members of the New York City Police Department were notified and investigated the situation, Scianna added.

At 3:39 p.m. the NYPD informed the Department of Public Safety that the morning phone call may have been more than just a prank. It is not known at this time what the true intent of the call was.

The first Public Safety advisory announcing the bomb threat was sent out via St. John’s Central at 4:30 p.m., said Scianna.

He also mentioned that no buildings were shut down during the NYPD/Public Safety investigation.

The St. John’s emergency text messaging system was not used because, according to Scianna, the situation was “thought to not be a serious threat and no one was in imminent danger.”

Later that evening, the NYPD made an arrest. It is not known at this time if the suspect was the one responsible for making the call to the Public Safety office, nor is it known if the person is a student.

Public Safety released a second announcement at 1:45 a.m., revealing the suspect’s apprehension and confirming that the threat was minor.

“Public Safety assures the University community that at no time during the investigation was the safety of the community in danger,” said the advisory.

“As a result of the NYPD investigation and arrest, it has been determined that there is no threat towards the University, and that all the University’s campuses can safely open on Friday, April 4, 2008 as scheduled.”

Overall, Scianna seemed relieved with the how the situation ended.

“The safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance and luckily everything turned out ok,” he said.

The NYPD 107th precinct’s Community Affairs Office and the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Office were both unavailable for comment.