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The report of an explosion at Northeastern University was a hoax, and an employee who said he was injured is arrested

The U.S. attorney said Jason Duhaime "fabricated the story." He has been charged with falsely conveying a bomb threat and lying to federal agents during his interview.

A report of an explosion last month at Northeastern University was a hoax, and the employee who said he was injured has been arrested, according to authorities and FBI statements made in court documents.

The FBI's Boston office announced an arrest in a tweet Tuesday morning. Court documents viewed by NBC News show that the package detonation reported on Sept. 13 at Holmes Hall never occurred.

U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said at a news conference later Tuesday that the suspect, Jason Duhaime, "is alleged to have fabricated the story."

Duhaime was arrested Tuesday near his home in San Antonio. He has been charged with falsely conveying a bomb threat and lying to federal agents during his interview, according to the FBI.

Rollins said Duhaime called 911 around 7 p.m. and told the operator that he had been injured by very sharp objects that were expelled from a plastic case. Duhaime, who at the time was the school's new technology manager and the director of the immersive media lab, is alleged to have said the case contained a "violent note" threatening the lab.

The school declined to say how long Duhaime had been employed.

A pedestrian watches police outside Northeastern University after a possible package explosion was reported last month.
A pedestrian watches police outside Northeastern University after a possible package explosion was reported last month.@skytopjf via Twitter

Duhaime told law enforcement that he had collected several packages from the mail area, including two cases, Rollins told reporters.

“Very sharp objects flew out” and injured his arms after, Duhaime said, he opened one of the packages he had placed in a lab storage closet, Rollins said.

Law enforcement officers viewed the case and "found it was empty and undamaged," Rollins said.

"Neither that Pelican case nor the threatening letter Mr. Duhaime allegedly said was inside the case showed any indication of having been exposed to a forceful or explosive discharge of any type or magnitude," she said. "And the storage closet in which Mr. Duhaime opened the case appeared normal and undisrupted."

Authorities said Duhaime denied fabricating his story when he was questioned by investigators.

The investigation found a "word for word" copy of the alleged threatening letter on a computer seized from Duhaime. The letter was created just hours before he called 911, Rollins said.

The incident caused Northeastern to evacuate a large part of its Boston campus and triggered warnings from other schools in the area for people to be cautious and report suspicious packages. Harvard University said it would increase campus police patrols in response to the detonation.

Rollins said that Duhaime's alleged hoax was "disturbing to say the least" and that it caused panic in the entire community.

Authorities said they do not yet know a motive. Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said Duhaime most likely "wanted to be the victim but instead victimized his entire community by instilling fear at college campuses in Massachusetts and beyond."

CORRECTION (Oct. 4, 2022, 10:15 p.m. ET): The caption on a photo in a previous version of this article misstated when the photo was taken. It was taken Sept. 13, not Tuesday.