Man in Texas arrested in threat that prompted evacuation of Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
(Karla Chavez)
Karla Chavez

LIBERTY ISLAND (WABC) -- A man accused of calling in a bomb threat that prompted a day-long evacuation of the Statue of Liberty has been arrested in Texas.

Police say 42-year-old Jason Paul Smith, of Hart, West Virginia, was behind the April 24 incident that turned out to be a hoax.

Smith was arrested in Lubbock and is charged with one count of conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The incident precipitated the evacuation of more than 3,200 people from Liberty Island in New York Harbor.

Authorities say 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. The caller 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 to the threat 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.

Canine units alerted to the area of the visitor lockers at the base of the Statue of Liberty, prompting law enforcement officers and emergency responders to evacuate people who were on Liberty Island at the time. Subsequently, the threat was determined to be unfounded.

Authorities determined 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.

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