Student charged in e-mail bomb threat

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:57

    CENTRAL VALLEY-Less than 90 minutes after police say Jason Kimmel sent a threatening e-mail to the Monroe-Woodbury School District Wednesday morning, the 19-year-old high school student was in custody and charged with falsely reporting an incident. The incident started between 8 and 8:30 a.m. when school officials received an e-mail with a bomb threat against the entire district and its property. No specific school was mentioned in the e-mail, police said. Although school staff, trained to check for suspicious objects, searched the schools, students were not evacuated. Monroe-Woodbury officials and Woodbury police said they were able to quickly ascertain that the threat was against certain school buses. Woodbury Police Chief Robert Kwiakowski said Thursday morning that those buses were pulled off the road and technicians trained to detect bombs were called in to inspect them. No bombs were found. Meanwhile, making use of technology, police were able to identify the source of the e-mail and took Kimmel, who attends classes at Orange-Ulster BOCES in Goshen, into custody at home. The threat, said the chief, was made from Kimmel's Monroe home. Orange County District Attorney Frank Phillips said investigators used service providers in tracking the e-mail threat to its source. They prepared the search warrant to seize and search the suspect's computer in his home. Village of Monroe Police Department were also involved in the investigation. With technology, sending an e-mail is "like leaving a license plate at the scene of an accident," Kwiakowski said. Superintendent of Schools Frank Moscati sent a letter home to parents Wednesday, advising them of the incident. Thursday morning, he said schools were not evacuated because "every case is considered on a situation-by-situation basis," in concert with police. In the letter, he wrote: "This incident presents an opportunity for you to talk about such issues with your son and/or daughter as you see fit for their age, grade level and maturity. These incidents are not pranks or jokes; they are, in fact, crimes and those who can be identified will be prosecuted." With similar words, both Kwiakowski and Phillips also warned that the public cannot become de-sentisized to such incidents and that parents need to get involved. Kimmel was in custody by the time most parents received the letter. He was arraigned Wednesday night in Woodbury Town Court. The charge - with falsely reporting an incident - is a felony. He was released on his own recognizance into the custody of his grandparents. He is scheduled to appear in Woodbury Town Court on March 23.