On August 30, 2017, reports began to roll in from Waltham, Massachusetts that 24 separate locations in the city had been targeted with bomb threats. After an extensive multi-agency effort to investigate these threats, directed at Waltham public schools and other locations, officials determined that the threats were all a hoax.
While local police, with the help of the U.S. Department of Justice, had not pinpointed any specific suspects, they continued to take the threats seriously. All of the threats had been sent through email.
Cops now say they have located a suspect in the case along with his possible motive behind the threats that left the city of Waltham on edge.
In a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, police were able to connect the threats to 24-year-old Ryan S. Lin of Newton. Investigators say the threats were part of a much larger cyberstalking campaign against a 24-year-old woman who had once been Lin’s roommate.
According to officials, Lin began cyberstalking the unidentified woman in April of 2016. Investigators say that Lin was able to compromise the woman’s social media accounts in order to steal personal information and photos. This information was later used to set up fake accounts and threaten the woman and those closest to her. Photos were also used in fake advertisements soliciting men to fulfill her rape fantasies, prompting strange men to show up at the woman’s home.
Additionally, Lin was able to find compromising photos of the woman, as well as diary entries detailing the woman’s private information such as medical and sexual history. All of this information had been forwarded to friends, family and co-workers of the victim in order to embarrass her.
“Mr. Lin allegedly carried out a relentless cyber stalking campaign against a young woman in a chilling effort to violate her privacy and threaten those around her,” Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb was quoted as saying in a statement published on the U.S. DoJ’s website. “While using anonymizing services and other online tools to avoid attribution, Mr. Lin harassed the victim, her family, friends, co-workers, and roommates, and then targeted local schools and institutions in her community. Mr. Lin will now face the consequences of his crimes.”
In addition to the 24 threats emailed to locations around the city of Waltham, on one of the fake accounts Lin created he threatened to “shoot up a school.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Shaw said in a statement, “This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn’t harmless. He allegedly scared innocent people, and disrupted their daily lives, because he was blinded by his obsession. No one should feel unsafe in their own home, school, or workplace, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners hope today’s arrest will deter others from engaging in similar criminal conduct.”
NECN reports that Lin could be facing up to five years prison and up to three years of supervised release if convicted.