A Brooklyn Jewish senior center received a bomb threat on Friday, in the latest scare this month, coming a day after the Jewish Children’s Museum in the same New York borough was evacuated due to a similar threat.
According to local reports, the Jasa Senior Citizen Center on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn received the threat in the form of a text message at 8:45 a.m. local time. It was not clear if the center was evacuated.
On Thursday, in addition to the scare at the museum which was briefly evacuated, a JCC in Los Gatos, California, near San Jose, was also cleared after receiving a bomb threat at 11:45 a.m. local time. The building includes a day school and the local offices of the Jewish federation and Jewish Family Services, a social service group.
According to a Facebook post by the center, the evacuation proceeded smoothly and police came with canine units to investigate. By 4:50 p.m. law enforcement determined that the threat was a hoax and everyone returned to the building.
These latest threats come days after a wave of bomb threats Wednesday hit 20 JCCs, day schools in the US and Canada, and offices of the Anti-Defamation League. In total, more than 140 bomb threats have targeted Jewish institutions since the beginning of the year. A number of Jewish cemeteries have also been vandalized.
Also Thursday, New York City’s head of police intelligence said that investigators believe one man using a voice changer and phone spoofing device is behind a large number of the scores of threats made against Jewish institutions this year.
The spoofing device makes it appear the call is not coming from the number the man is using, and makes it appear it’s coming from within the institution, John Miller told “CBS This Morning.”
“We have an offender with some technical prowess here,” Miller said.
Miller said the New York Police Department is working with federal officials who are the lead investigators on the case. He said he’s working with institutions in New York to help them manage responses to the threats.
JCC leaders from across the US on Wednesday sent an open letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that he take more action to deter the threats.
“We are frustrated with the progress in resolving this situation,” the letter said. “We insist that all relevant federal agencies, including your own, apply all the resources available to identify and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators, who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in communities across the country, to justice.”
One arrest has been made in the threats, a St. Louis man accused of making eight of the calls in an effort to harass his ex-girlfriend. Juan Thompson has asked a federal judge in Missouri to release him on bond as he faces the federal charges out of New York. Thompson’s lawyer declined comment.