JCC bomb threat suspect on path to indictment in Israel

The parents claim their 18-year-old son has severe autism and a brain tumor that affects his behavior.

US-Israeli teen arrested for bomb threats to JCCs (credit: REUTERS)
On Thursday Israel Police filed a police declaration, which usually proceeds an indictment of the 18-year-old Israeli-American teenager accused of perpetrating hundreds of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the United States and other countries.
The suspect, whose name remains under gag order, was brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where his remand was extended by five days. Along with the remand request, police filed a declaration which outlines the indictment that will be filed next week.
The teenage suspect is expected to be charged next week for extortion by threats, publishing false information that caused public fear and panic, conspiring to commit a crime, and various computer and money-laundering offenses.
“Police investigators are in the process of completing the investigation and that’s why there was a request for his remand to be extended. So investigators have more time to continue the investigation and finish the indictment,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Police arrested the teenager in his parent’s Ashkelon apartment in late March on suspicion of perpetrating hundreds of bomb threats over the past three years against Jewish community centers and other organizations in the US and around the world. He is also suspected of threatening a 2015 Delta airlines flight and using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to conduct illicit transactions.
The parents claim their son has severe autism and a brain tumor that affects his behavior, which led him to issue the threats.
Attorney Shira Nir, who represents the teenager, said the suspect should be placed on house arrest so he can receive proper medical and psychiatric treatment. “Regarding the autism, the police don’t totally believe it,” Nir told the Post on Thursday. “We hope that the entire story of his autism will come out.”
The teenager was born in Israel but lived in California until he was six years old, and he is the only son of an Israeli-born father and an American mother.
He was home-schooled and a recluse, according to his mother, having little contact with the outside world except via his several computers, which were connected to the Internet by an antenna on a house window.
Due to the suspect’s sophisticated efforts to hide his identity, Israeli cyber crime investigators and the FBI employed a variety of undisclosed technologies to track his whereabouts, eventually locating him at the family’s apartment in the coastal city.