A 33-year-old Peruvian man has been arrested for allegedly sending more than 150 fake bomb threats to U.S. schools, airports, synagogues, hospitals and a mall, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos “allegedly engaged in this reprehensible and socially destructive conduct in a twisted attempt to retaliate against teenage girls who refused his requests for nude and sexually explicit photographs,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. Nunez Santos was arrested in Peru on Tuesday.
Investigators said Nunez Santos posed as a teenage boy online and asked multiple minors to send him sexually explicit photos. When the girls refused his alleged requests or cut off communications, Nunez Santos allegedly threatened to bomb their schools or kill them.
Several of the emailed threats included the phone numbers of the underage victims, along with instructions for the targeted institutions to contact the girls.
The threats, made in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Arizona and Alaska, triggered school evacuations, a hospital lockdown and flight delays. The majority of the threats, which began in mid-September, were sent to schools.
In Pennsylvania, more than 1,100 schoolchildren across several school districts were evacuated in response to one threat.
“I’ll gladly smile when your families are crying because of your deaths,” Nunez Santos allegedly wrote in an email to 24 school districts.
Two synagogues in Westchester County, New York, also received threat emails, according to the criminal complaint.
“The bombs I placed in the building will blow up in a few hours,” Nunez Santos allegedly wrote to one of the synagogues. “Many people will lay in a pool of blood.”
Nunez Santos was charged with several federal crimes, including transmitting threatening interstate communications, conveying false information and hoaxes, attempting to sexually exploit a child, attempting to coerce and entice a minor and attempting to receive child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he’s convicted.