80° Good Evening
80° Good Evening

West Virginia man charged with making fake bomb threats against Statue of Liberty and Times Square, prosecutors say

The Statue of Liberty is seen from a

The Statue of Liberty is seen from a Statue Cruises ferry on Thursday, May 7, 2015. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

A West Virginia man was charged on Wednesday with allegedly making fake bomb threats against the Statue of Liberty, causing more than 3,000 people to evacuate the tourist attraction, as well as threatening several other famous New York landmarks.

Jason Paul Smith, who was arrested in Lubbock, Texas, is accused of identifying himself as "Abdul Yasin" and an "ISIS terrorist" as well as threatening to blow up the famous monument, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.

Smith, 42, allegedly called 911 from his iPad on April 24 threatening that "we are preparing to blow up the Statue of Liberty," authorities said.

Law enforcement officials and bomb-sniffing dogs then swept the area, but the dogs indicated something suspicious by the lockers at the base of the statue. A total of 3,200 people were evacuated from the island, but ultimately the threat was unfounded, authorities said.

Smith is accused of making several other 911 calls, including at least two in May, identifying himself as "ISIS Allah Bomb Maker." In those calls he threatened to attack Times Square and kill police officers at the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Smith was held without bail during his initial appearance Wednesday. 

Smith, who is from Harts, West Virginia -- about an hour from the capital of Charleston -- was charged with conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos