BOSTON (WHDH) – A Texas man and former Northeastern University employee, Jason Duhaime, has been arrested in connection with a reported explosion at the school last month that turned out to be a hoax, according to FBI Boston.
Duhaime, 45, was arrested in San Antonio Texas on charges of making false threats of an explosion. On Sept. 13 he called 911 and reported an explosion that left him with injuries on his arms after opening a heavy-duty plastic Pelican briefcase. He said the case detonated in a Northeastern building where he worked as a lab manager. When police arrived, they said they found no indication of an explosion.
Duhaime presented police with a note that he claimed had been inside the box, police said, and they had found a copy of that note in his computer apparently written and printed earlier in the day.
According to Northeastern’s website, Duhaime was employed as the new technology manager at the school. His bio on the site said that he “supports students and faculty on how to use specialized technology, both in the computer labs as well as in the classroom. He manages and supports the Virtual / Augmented Reality and 360 immersive technology for the College.” Duhaime was fired after the report, but before the arrest.
U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said this is something they take particularly seriously, especially in Boston, 10 years after the Marathon bombing.
“This alleged conduct is disturbing to say the least. Our city knows more than most, all too well, that a report or threat of an explosion is a very serious matter and necessitates significant law enforcement response, given the potential devastation that can ensue,” Rollins said. She said the hoax call had “resulted in the evacuation of a large portion of the Northeastern campus, and the understandable panic among many northeastern students faculty and staff.”
As 7NEWS previously reported, a package that was delivered to Holmes Hall, where Northeastern has its virtual reality center, detonated around 7 p.m. Tuesday night after a staff member opened it. Boston EMS first said in a social media post that several of their units were called to Leon Street after 7 p.m. for the incident. According to their post, at least one person, a 45-year-old man and staff member of the school, was treated and hospitalized after what police are calling a detonation with minor hand injuries.
Sources said the package contained a rambling note criticizing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and the relationship between academic institutions and the developers of virtual reality. The note was in a hard plastic container and detonated when the victim opened the latches and lifted the lid. The note also indicated this may the beginning of more to come.
The investigation was later investigated as a hoax.
According to a recently unsealed criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the case, letter and Duhaime’s shirt bore no indications of an explosion, and his arms had only “several small, superficial marks or bruises on his lower forearms.”
The complaint said that Duhaime lives full-time with his girlfriend, despite his full-time employment at Northeastern for eight years. He sleeps in his lab or office when he is in Massachusetts.
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