Man allegedly threatened Boston firm
Upset at the automatic vehicle recovery service LoJack, a suspect is held for investigation of harassment.
On Thursday morning, detectives from the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force, federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Border Patrol and Lynnwood Police Department showed up at the apartment the man shares with his father, 81.
The suspect, 48, was arrested for investigation of harassment and making a bomb threat and booked into the Snohomish County Jail. He's being held on $10,000 bail.
The man allegedly made three calls to LoJack, an automatic vehicle recovery service that alerts customers by text, e-mail or phone if their car is moved without their authorization.
In this instance, LoJack had transposed two digits of a subscriber's telephone number in its database. That resulted in the suspect getting the customer's calls from LoJack.
On April 21, he allegedly called the company three times and yelled racial slurs and obscenities as well as threats.
"It's difficult to listen to," said Sgt. Jason Longoria of the auto theft task force. "It's that inflammatory. It was a very antagonizing tone."
During one call, the suspect allegedly told a worker to step away from his desk because he was going to blow him up. He allegedly told the call taker and a supervisor that he was going to blow up their cars and they had better be careful when they went outside.
During the first call, a LoJack employee told the man that the error would be corrected and he wouldn't be bothered again.
The Lynnwood man then called back two more times.
The call center is in Canton, Mass., about 20 miles from Boston. The bomb-threat call was made six days after two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260.
"The call taker and supervisor were very frightened for their safety as a result of (his) phone calls coupled with what they were dealing with locally," a detective with the auto theft task force wrote in a police report.
LoJack was concerned enough to reach out to contacts on the auto theft task force. The task force reached out to federal agencies.
On Tuesday, an ATF agent requested a federal subpoena to access the identity of the caller based on the phone number.
It led to the Lynnwood apartment.
The suspect allegedly told detectives that he believed the company was messing with him.
He acknowledged that he'd been watching television coverage of the Boston bombings.
"He said he hoped to scare them and knew exactly what he was doing," detectives wrote in a police report used to establish probable cause for his arrest.
He allegedly told a detective that he'd wished he would have made threats to the LoJack employees more explicit. For example, he said he could have threatened "to shove a pressure cooker" into one worker's body.
Pressure cookers packed with nails and ball bearings were used in the bombs planted near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
For Longoria, it's a case of people needing to be responsible for what they say.
"We do have freedom of speech, but you can't say anything you want and hide behind the First Amendment," he said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org
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