Jewish community centers in three states were hit with bomb threats between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with at least two coming via email. All were deemed to be non-credible.
JCCs in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Boulder, Colorado received the threats, according to local news reports. The threats in St. Louis and Boulder came via email; Atlanta’s JCC would not comment on the nature of the threat. All three JCCs had received bomb threats this year.
The scares are the latest of nearly 150 bomb threats to hit JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions since the beginning of the year. The threats have mostly come in waves, via phone and email. Many of the institutions have been threatened more than once.
“The safety and security of our members, staff, and guests is always our top priority,” read a statement from Atlanta’s Marcus JCC on Tuesday’s threat. “We will not let this threat deter us from our mission and the responsibility we have to be the safe, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse communal town square for the generations of Atlantans who have relied on us.”
On Sunday, at least six JCCs in the US and Canada received bomb threats which were found to be non-credible. They were reported at JCCs serving Rochester, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Houston, Texas. The calls and email came as Jewish communities around the globe celebrated the holiday of Purim.
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have been investigating the threats, but have yet to charge anyone with committing the vast majority of them. Juan Thompson, a St. Louis resident, has been charged with committing eight of the threats, but appears to be a copycat.
On Thursday, a top New York police official said most of the threats were likely being carried out by a single individual using phone spoofing technology to mask the source of the calls.
Also Tuesday, the website for the metropolitan Detroit area’s Walk for Israel was hacked and peppered with hate-filled and anti-Semitic expressions.