A New York man arrested for threatening to bomb a power station says he was only trying to get power turned back on at the home of his grandmother, who he said was "dying of the heat."
Nassau County police said Rajiv Pandey, 33, of Central Islip called cable News 12 Long Island on Friday and threatened to place a bomb at a Long Island Power Authority facility. Investigators searched more than 30 locations but did not find a bomb, NBC station WNBC reported.
Detectives traced the call to Pandey’s old cell phone.
In an interview published Tuesday in the New York Daily News, Pandey said he made the call and conceded the consequences could ruin his life. He is charged with falsely reporting an incident.
Power was restored at his grandmother's home Saturday, six days after Tropical Storm Irene barreled through.
"I guess I have ruined my life saving my grandmother," Pandey told the Daily News. "I became a felon for doing the community a service."
Pandey, an information technology consultant, said he became upset because LIPA kept hanging up on him.
"My poor grandmother, who lives right across from my house, was dying of the heat, and all of her food had to be thrown out."
She is in her 80s and lives alone, he said.
The last straw, he told the Daily News, came when a LIPA supervisor promised power would be back by Friday — but the utility again failed to deliver. So Pandey called News 12.
"I told them there's a bomb in one of the facilities and then I hung up," he said.
After spending a day in jail, he came home to find utility crews working to restore power.
Pandey said he meant no harm.
"I needed power back, but now I'm scared as hell," he said. "I don't know if it was the right thing or the wrong thing, but I got my power back."
Pandey wasn't the only one upset with LIPA last week.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the utility for its slow response when Irene left hundreds of thousands of customers without power.
Midday Tuesday, the LIPA website showed 3,473 customers were with electric outages.
On Wednesday, a Hicksville man was arrested after he called the Nassau County Department of Emergency Management and made "numerous" threats against LIPA.
The 46-year-old man was "irate" about having no electricity in his home days after Irene left the area, officials said. He was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and arraigned Thursday.