Breaking News Emails
Police at the University of Massachusetts Boston have charged a student in connection with two bomb threats called into the school in the past week.
Dean Beckford, a 29-year-old senior at the school, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and has been charged with two counts of making a bomb threat, according to UMass Boston Police Chief Donald Baynard.
The threats occurred on Thursday, April 17, and Tuesday, April 22, which raised already high tensions surrounding the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing and the latest running of the race on Monday.
In both incidents, a call was received at about 12:45 p.m. at a dean's office in Wheatley Hall, the target of the threats, claiming an imminent danger of an explosion in the building, police said.
Both times, police immediately evacuated the targeted building and performed a search with bomb squads. No devices were ever found.
Investigators reportedly tracked calls from pay phones outside two train stations and then used surveillance video to identify the suspect — who was arrested as he arrived on campus, according to NBC’s Boston affiliate WHDH.
“I hope this will be a clear and resounding message that we take these types of actions very seriously and will aggressively investigate and pursue criminal charges when unfounded threats are made to the safety of the campus,” Baynard said in a statement.
A judge issued $20,000 cash bail for Beckford and ordered that he wear a GPS device, WHDH reported.