Man accused of threatening to blow up Statue of Liberty arrested
NEW YORK — A man is accused of using his iPad and a phone service for the hearing impaired to call in a bomb threat that resulted in the evacuation of more than 3,200 people from Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
On Wednesday, Jason Paul Smith, 42, of Harts, West Virginia, was charged in federal court with a count of conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes, according to the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Smith, who was arrested Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas, was to appear in a federal court there. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted. It’s unclear if Smith has a lawyer.
On April 24, Smith allegedly made a 911 call from his iPad using a service that helps hearing-impaired people make and receive telephone calls, according to federal prosecutors.
In the call, Smith identified himself as “Abdul Yasin,” described himself as an “ISI terrorist” and conveyed a threat to “blow up” the Statue of Liberty, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island were evacuated and closed to the public until the threat was declared unfounded. The New York Police Department bomb squad examined a locker thought to contain a suspicious package and found it was empty, a law enforcement official said at the time.
The statement from prosecutors said the iPad registered to Smith was allegedly used to make other 911 calls, including at least two in May from a user who identified himself as “Isis allah Bomb maker.” The caller threatened to attack Times Square and kill police officers at the Brooklyn Bridge.