Man pleads guilty threat that prompted Liberty Island evacuation

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Monday, June 6, 2016
(Karla Chavez)
Karla Chavez

LIBERTY ISLAND (WABC) -- The man who called in a bomb threat that prompted a day-long evacuation of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island pleaded guilty Monday.

Jason Paul Smith, 42, of Hart, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The incident happened on April 24, 2015, when Smith initiated a call to the emergency 911 system from his iPad using a service that assists hearing-impaired individuals with making and receiving telephone calls. He identified himself as "Abdul Yasin," described himself as an "ISI terrorist," and threatened that "we" are preparing to "blow up" the Statue of Liberty.

Law enforcement officers responded and conducted a sweep of the areas in and around the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island, with the aid of K-9 units trained to detect explosives. The dogs alerted in the vicinity of the visitor lockers at the base of the Statue of Liberty, prompting law enforcement officers and emergency responders to evacuate the more than 3,200 people who were on Liberty Island at the time.

Later, the threat was determined to be unfounded.

The iPad registered in Smith's name had used the service to make other 911 calls, including at least two calls in May 2015 from a user who identified himself as "Isis allah Bomb maker" and who threatened to attack Times Square and kill police officers at the Brooklyn Bridge. He was arrested in August.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.