FBI: Portland man made Boston-related threats

FBI: Portland man made Boston-related threats

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by Kyle Iboshi, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 9:36 AM

PORTLAND -- Just weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, threats of a similar type attack started appearing on Facebook pages in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

"I think I will blow up the justice center and Multnomah building too this week like in the explosions in Boston," said one message posted on the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

According to a newly unsealed federal search warrant, similar threats were sent to the Oregon military, Eastern Oregon University and the Washington County Visitors Association.

"We didn't know if it was credible or not, but we didn't want to take any chances," said Sylke Neal-Finnegan of the Washington County Visitors Association.

The association's director of marketing said she contacted police immediately. "When you come across a threatening post online, you really do have to take action because the one time you don't, something could happen."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation found more than a half-dozen threats were made from a bogus Facebook account. The search warrant said the user set up the accounts using names of people he knew and stole their photos off the Internet.

According to the search warrant, federal agents were able to identify the man making the threats by tracking the IP address from his computer, or the location where the messages were sent from.

On August 23, 2013 federal agents executed the search warrant on a home in the 4000 block of Northeast Emerson Street in Portland. The FBI seized several computers.

According to the search warrant, the FBI and local police interviewed 25-year old Jesse David Bennett. He has not been charged in this case. Bennett has a prior conviction for identity theft. Bennett could not be reached for comment.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment because this is an on-going investigation.

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