JCRC Statement on Arrest of Suspect Connected to JCC Bomb Threats

March 23, 2017

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) applauds today’s arrest of a suspect in connection with the recent waves of bomb threats targeting JCCs and other Jewish organizations in the U.S. and internationally. We thank law enforcement – particularly federal law enforcement – for their tireless investigative efforts which led to the international apprehension of the suspect. Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, the JCCs and entire Jewish community continue to remain vigilant and take steps to enhance safety and security.

“We join Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, in his statement that ‘it was heartbreaking to learn that a Jewish man is a prime suspect.’

“We are in communication with law enforcement about the suspect’s role in the bomb threats targeting the Sabes JCC on January 18 and the St. Paul JCC on February 20. This is a developing story and we will provide updates as we receive them.

“According to the Secure Community Network (SCN): ‘as of March 21, at least 167 threats had been made to approximately 118 different Jewish institutions across 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Although a majority of threats are believed to have been linked to this individual, it is believed that some of the bomb threats in the last couple months were copy-cat incidents that may not be linked to the suspect.’

“On behalf of the Jewish community, we thank federal, state, and local law enforcement for their efforts to assist in the investigation of these threatening acts. The Minneapolis Division of the FBI deserves special recognition. We deeply appreciate the partnerships that the JCRC shares with law enforcement.

“We also commend leadership at the Sabes JCC and St. Paul JCC who have showed tremendous poise in responding to these incidents.

“The JCRC serves as the official Jewish community liaison with federal, state, and local law enforcement. It provides security guidance to Jewish organizations, working with law enforcement as well as private security organizations to develop and implement monitoring, prevention, response, and training programs.

“Finally, we thank all Minnesotans who have reached out to the JCCs and Jewish community during these difficult times. The concern and support that our Muslim and Christian neighbors have shown is deeply appreciated.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.