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Former employee arrested in Northeastern University bomb hoax

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Former Northeastern University employee Jason Duhaime was arrested and charged in relation to a hoax involving explosives on the school’s campus last month, the FBI confirmed Tuesday. Photo courtesy Northeastern University
Former Northeastern University employee Jason Duhaime was arrested and charged in relation to a hoax involving explosives on the school’s campus last month, the FBI confirmed Tuesday. Photo courtesy Northeastern University

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A former Northeastern University employee has been arrested and charged in relation to a hoax involving explosives on the school's Boston campus last month, the FBI confirmed Tuesday.

Jason Duhaime, 45, is charged with allegedly staging a hoax explosion on the Northeastern campus in Boston in September, and providing law enforcement with materially false and misleading information about the incident, the Justice Department said in a statement.

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Duhaime, from San Antonio, Texas, was employed as a director at the university's Immersive Media Lab at the time.

He was arrested Tuesday morning in the Western District of Texas and will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. The FBI did not speculate on a motive.

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Police initially responded to 911 calls that a package had exploded at the university's Holmes Hall on Leon Street at about 7:18 p.m. EDT on Sept. 13. The news triggered a major law enforcement response.

According to the Justice Department, it was Duhaime who placed the 911 call to report that he was injured by "sharp" objects expelled from a plastic case he opened inside the lab.

Officials contend Duhaime lied to police when he told them that "very sharp" objects flew out of one of the two pelican cases he opened inside the lab, causing injuries to his arms. Police also claim Duhaime falsely reported a "violent note" inside one of the cases threatening the lab.

Experts later found no evidence of explosive material at the scene inside Holmes Hall, while Duhaime's injuries were not consistent with those normally found on someone exposed to an explosion.

The storage closet where Duhaime said the explosion occurred also appeared normal and bomb technicians did not observe any small objects or suspicious debris on the floor or elsewhere.

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Forensic analysis of one of the computers seized during a search of Duhaime's office allegedly revealed a word-for-word electronic copy of the letter stored in a backup folder.

Northeastern has not said how long Duhaime was employed. His biography is still listed on the school's website.

He faces one count of intentionally conveying false and misleading information related to an explosive device and one count of making materially false statements to a federal law enforcement agent. Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

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