Houston man charged with threatening to bomb synagogues

May 24, 2013 at 12:46 AM

HOUSTON, May 24 (UPI) -- A federal complaint unsealed Thursday indicates Dante Phearse, 32, was charged with calling in bomb threats to two synagogues in Houston, officials said.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Roy L. Austin Jr. and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Kenneth Magidson said Phearse, of Houston, was charged with one count of using an instrument of interstate commerce to communicate a threat to destroy a building by means of an explosive device.

The complaint and accompanying affidavit, filed May 16, allege on the evening of April 30 Phearse called two different synagogues in Houston -- Congregation Beth Israel and Congregation Or Ami -- and left voicemails threatening to bomb the Jewish houses of worship May 2, the Department of Justice said in a release.

Phearse was scheduled to make an initial appearance in Houston at 10 a.m. Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson. The government expects to request Phearse be detained pending further criminal proceedings.

Phearse faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine if convicted.

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