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Stadium Terror Plots & Patsies



Stadium Terror Plots & Patsies

Date: October 12, 2006
Suspect: Jake J. Brahm
Age: 20
Ethnicity: White
Location: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Weapons: Internet
Charges: Making a terrorist threat over the Internet
Notes: Brahm was accused of writing that radioactive “dirty bombs” would be detonated at seven football stadiums.

Title: Feds Charge Wisconsin Grocery Clerk In NFL Stadium Terror Hoax
Date: October 20, 2006
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A 20-year-old grocery store clerk who authorities say amused himself by posting prank Internet warnings of terrorist attacks against
NFL stadiums was arrested Friday on federal charges that could bring five years behind bars.

Jake J. Brahm was accused of writing that radioactive "dirty bombs" would be detonated this weekend at seven football stadiums. He admitted posting the same threat about 40 times on various Web sites between September and Wednesday, authorities said.

The Wauwatosa man surrendered to federal authorities and appeared in court in Milwaukee later in the day.

"These types of hoaxes scare innocent people, cost business resources and waste valuable homeland security resources. We cannot tolerate this Internet version of yelling fire in a crowded theater in the post-9/11 era," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie in Newark, N.J., where Brahm was charged in a sealed complaint filed Thursday. One of the stadiums mentioned was Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Brahm was charged with making a terrorist threat over the Internet, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine. When the potential sentence was read in court Friday afternoon, his mother, Victoria Brahm, with whom he lives, closed her eyes and put her hand over her mouth.

U.S. Magistrate Patricia Gorence released Jake Brahm without bail, citing his spotless record and strong community ties. She prohibited him from using the Internet or traveling outside Wisconsin and New Jersey, where his lawyer said he plans to make a court appearance.

When reporters asked him for comment after the hearing, Brahm smiled and laughed but said nothing.

Brahm's attorney, Patrick Knight, said after the hearing that his client was shocked by the way the threats were received. He described Brahm as quiet and gentle and said he had not seen anything to indicate Brahm meant any real harm.

"When you're a 20-year-old, and you roll a snowball, and the next thing you know, it's as big as a house rolling down a hill, it surprises you a bit," Knight said.

Richard Ruminski, the FBI agent in charge of the Milwaukee office, said Brahm thought posting the threats would be funny.

"As I understand it, Mr. Brahm had put out this threat thinking it was so preposterous that no one would take it seriously," Ruminski said. "Unfortunately, he was wrong."

The warnings briefly set off a scare this week, before federal authorities announced the warnings were a hoax.

Wauwatosa police Chief Barry Weber said Brahm had bragged to friends about his actions.

An FBI official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation, told The Associated Press that Brahm acknowledged doing it as part of a "writing duel" with a man from Texas to see who could post the scariest threat.

One of the threats, dated Oct. 12, appeared on the Web site "The Friend Society," which links to various online forums and off-color cartoons. Its author, identified in the message as "javness," said that trucks would deliver radiological bombs Sunday to stadiums in Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland, Oakland, Calif., and the New York City area, and that Usama bin Laden would claim responsibility.

On a separate blog under Brahm's name, the writer posted a photo of a football stadium next to a list of goals for 2006, which included committing a felony and "trying to leave the house at least twice a week."

Brahm worked at Outpost Natural Foods, a co-op near his house. "He was a normal guy. That's all we're going to say at this time," said Jeremy Layman, assistant manager.

Mallory McKenney, who graduated a year before Brahm from Wauwatosa East High School, said: "He was quiet but always seemed friendly whenever we were in a group of people together."

Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said there would be no charges against the Texas man because he did not take part in the writing of the threats (Fox News, 2006).

Title: Grocery Store Clerk Arrested In Stadium Hoax
Date: October 21, 2006
Source: Washington Post

Abstract:
A 20-year-old grocery store clerk who authorities say amused himself by posting prank Internet warnings of terrorist attacks against NFL stadiums was arrested Friday on federal charges that could bring five years behind bars.

Jake J. Brahm was accused of writing that radioactive “dirty bombs” would be detonated this weekend at seven football stadiums. He admitted posting the same threat about 40 times on various Web sites between September and Wednesday, authorities said.

The Wauwatosa man surrendered to federal authorities and appeared in court in Milwaukee later in the day.

“These types of hoaxes scare innocent people, cost business resources and waste valuable homeland security resources. We cannot tolerate this Internet version of yelling fire in a crowded theater in the post-9/11 era,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie in Newark, N.J., where Brahm was charged in a sealed complaint filed Thursday. One of the stadiums mentioned was Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Brahm was charged with making a terrorist threat over the Internet, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine. When the potential sentence was read in court Friday afternoon, his mother, Valerie Brahm, with whom he lives, closed her eyes and put her hand over her mouth.

U.S. Magistrate Patricia Gorence released Jake Brahm without bail, citing his spotless record and strong community ties. She prohibited him from using the Internet or traveling outside Wisconsin and New Jersey, where his lawyer said he plans to make a court appearance.

When reporters asked him for comment after the hearing, Brahm smiled and laughed but said nothing.

Brahm’s attorney, Patrick Knight, said after the hearing that his client was shocked by the way the threats were received. He described Brahm as quiet and gentle and said he had not seen anything to indicate Brahm meant any real harm.

“When you’re a 20-year-old, and you roll a snowball, and the next thing you know, it’s as big as a house rolling down a hill, it surprises you a bit,” Knight said.

Richard Ruminski, the FBI agent in charge of the Milwaukee office, said Brahm thought posting the threats would be funny.

“As I understand it, Mr. Brahm had put out this threat thinking it was so preposterous that no one would take it seriously,” Ruminski said. “Unfortunately, he was wrong.”

The warnings briefly set off a scare this week, before federal authorities announced the warnings were a hoax.

Wauwatosa police Chief Barry Weber said Brahm had bragged to friends about his actions.

An FBI official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation, told The Associated Press that Brahm acknowledged doing it as part of a “writing duel” with a man from Texas to see who could post the scariest threat.

One of the threats, dated Oct. 12, appeared on the Web site “The Friend Society,” which links to various online forums and off-color cartoons. Its author, identified in the message as “javness,” said that trucks would deliver radiological bombs Sunday to stadiums in Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland, Oakland, Calif., and the New York City area, and that Osama bin Laden would claim responsibility.

On a separate blog under Brahm’s name, the writer posted a photo of a football stadium next to a list of goals for 2006, which included committing a felony and “trying to leave the house at least twice a week.”

Brahm worked at Outpost Natural Foods, a co-op near his house. “He was a normal guy. That’s all we’re going to say at this time,” said Jeremy Layman, assistant manager.

Mallory McKenney, who graduated a year before Brahm from Wauwatosa East High School, said: “He was quiet but always seemed friendly whenever we were in a group of people together.”

Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said there would be no charges against the Texas man because he did not take part in the writing of the threats (NBC, 2006).


Stadium Terror Plots & Patsies
Date: October 12, 2006
Suspect: Sudeep Paul, Anand Shankar Durvasula
Age: 20, 21
Ethnicity: Arab?
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Weapons: Video camera
Charges: Criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass
Notes: Dogs registered two separate "positive hits for explosives" on suspects vehicle


Title:
Heinz Field Arrests Spur Terror Response
Date: November 6, 2006
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Abstract: Two Carnegie Mellon University students caught trying to sneak into Heinz Field in the middle of the night -- purportedly to film a music video -- prompted an anti-terrorist response that included pumped-up security at yesterday's Steelers game against the Broncos.
The two young men were being held last night in the Allegheny County Jail on $1 million straight bond each.

Although explosives-sniffing canines found nothing of interest around the football stadium, an affidavit said the dogs registered two separate "positive hits for explosives" in the Lexus sport utility vehicle the men were driving.

What might have fallen under the prank category in pre-9/11 days was treated as anything but that by authorities, who conducted full searches of the students' apartments and heightened security throughout the afternoon around the stadium on the North Shore.

"We take everything seriously, especially in today's light," Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said at a morning news conference, while the suspects were still being questioned by agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Arrested outside Heinz Field around 2 a.m. yesterday were Sudeep Paul, 21, of Woodbury, N.Y., and Anand Shankar Durvasula, 20, of Morgan Hill, Calif. Chief Harper said they are U.S.-born. Both were charged with criminal conspiracy, and Mr. Durvasula with criminal trespass. The $1 million straight bond has to be paid in full for release.

Heinz Field security officers spotted the men on a security camera trying to enter the stadium, a Steelers spokesman said. They first opened an exterior door at Gate B without going inside, police said. They then took a folding chair to the fence at Gate 5 on Art Rooney Drive, and Mr. Durvasula allegedly stepped up on the chair to scale the fence.

Heinz Field security officers then approached the pair, and as they tried to walk away, they were apprehended by Pittsburgh police officers who had been summoned. They told police initially they were trying to check out the stadium because they had tickets to yesterday's 4:15 p.m. game against the Denver Broncos, Chief Harper said.

He said they told investigators later that Mr. Paul was trying to complete a music video featuring Mr. Durvasula, and they intended to do the last scene inside Heinz Field. A video camera and tripod were found inside the vehicle, parked nearby, which police towed away.

The affidavit said the vehicle was registered to Paul Swapan Kumar, 41, of Woodbury, N.Y., but it could have meant Kumar Paul, as police initially referred to Sudeep Paul as Paul Sudeep.

"We don't know exactly what their intentions were," Chief Harper said. But, he said, it was unwise for them to attempt to break into the stadium at about 2 a.m. There was no evidence the men had been drinking, he said.

Kumar Paul, who was unaware of the son's troubles, said he gave his son the Lexus.

"He's such a good kid," said Mr. Paul. "He's a bright student and an honor student."

Last month, a Wisconsin man was charged with making a terrorist threat over the Internet for threatening that radioactive "dirty bombs" would be detonated at seven football stadiums.

The nature of yesterday's incident led to extra precautions surrounding the Steelers-Broncos game, which was played without incident. Chief Harper said the quick response that resulted in the men being detained showed that security arrangements "are very well up to speed," and not something to worry the public.

"We have taken steps to make sure Heinz Field is secure," Chief Harper said. "We have brought in extra canine dogs from Lawrence, Mercer and Beaver counties to conduct a sweep of the facility. ... We have brought in additional officers as well as state police, county police and the FBI."

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said fans attending the game were to receive the same kind of pat-downs from security staff as is customary for all games. He said it was the first such incident he was aware of at Heinz Field, and fans should still feel safe in attending.

"The only thing that needs to be said was that the security system worked in getting things done quickly," Mr. Lockett said.

Police described the two men as cooperative throughout, agreeing to a police search of their off-campus residences in Squirrel Hill.

A Carnegie Mellon spokeswoman declined comment on the incident, other than to confirm both men are seniors at the school, with Mr. Paul a business student and Mr. Durvasula in the humanities and social sciences program.

University-related Web sites suggest that both men have been active, involved students. Mr. Paul is listed as activities director of the Undergraduate Finance Association, and Mr. Durvasula as a committee chairman of the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association. Both also were involved in Carnegie Mellon's Mock Trial competition, a program in which students take on judicial roles to practice their speaking and analytical skills.

Mr. Paul, on his own Web home page, lists his grade point average as 3.7 out of 4.0. He made the dean's list last spring (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2006).

Title: Ex-Grocery Clerk Gets 6 Months For NFL Stadium Attack Hoax
Date:
June 5, 2008
Source:
Fox News

Abstract:
A former Wisconsin grocery clerk must serve six months in federal prison for making bogus Internet postings warning of terrorist attacks against NFL stadiums, a judge ruled Thursday.

"People have to know they can't go around posting these things on the Internet," U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares said, adding that it scares the public and can expose weaknesses in security responses.

Jake Brahm, 22, must also serve six months under house arrest following his prison term, but a fine was waived.

He faced a prison term of six to 12 months under federal sentencing guidelines. His lawyer had sought probation.

Brahm said the postings were not meant to be taken seriously and were at a Web site, www.4chan.org, that is "outrageous."

"I would never take anything posted on 4chan as fact," he said.

"The story I wrote was not intended to be malicious and I didn't intend to deceive anyone," Brahm told the judge, at times stumbling during a seven-minute statement.

Brahm said he cooperated immediately when approached by police at the grocery store. "I tried my best to undo the harm I caused," he said.

A federal prosecutor agreed, but argued that Brahm was thrilled when police arrived, tossing his clipboard to the ground, shouting, "Yes!" and raising his arms in celebration.

Brahm intended "to create a stir," reposting the same message over 40 times during a four-week period in fall 2006, contended Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Judson Welle.

When another Web site visitor reposted the message on more mainstream sites and the news media learned of the ensuing investigation and emergency response, Welle said Brahm bragged in a posting, "This is the most epic win ever."

Welle called much of 4chan.org's content "inane," saying it ranged from running jokes to images of kittens, pornography and violence.

Brahm's lawyer, Walter A. Lesnevich, urged leniency for an "unsophisticated kid" who was immersed in the 4chan.org culture.

"There's this odd community of people who go on this Web site. He's the poster boy of what can go wrong," Lesnevich told the judge.

Brahm's posting, repeated from September to Oct. 18, 2006, said the targeted stadiums were in Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland, Cleveland and New York City. He admitted that the reference to New York City was intended to indicate Giants Stadium, in East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Jets played the Detroit Lions that day.

The posting added that the stadium explosions would be praised by Osama bin Laden as "America's Hiroshima" and spark global conflicts. The message said that bombs would be delivered by trucks and that "the death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and countless other fatalities will later occur as result from radioactive fallout."

Brahm must repay $18,000 to the Cleveland Browns and $8,750 to the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which operates Giants Stadium. Welle said other stadiums had extra costs because of the hoax, but were unable to complete their paperwork in time for the sentencing.

Brahm, of Wauwatosa, Wis., had pleaded guilty in February to willfully conveying false information that the stadiums would be attacked by terrorists with weapons of mass destruction and "radiological dispersal devices."

The charge is part of the Patriot Act. Lesnevich said that although the law is vague and may one day be repealed, they agreed to the plea because it gave Brahm a chance for probation.

Brahm is now working in his father's wood shop, the lawyer said (Fox News, 2008).

Title: Detroit Lions Fan Pleads Guilty To Superdome Bomb Threats During Playoff Loss
Date:
June 2, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A Lions fan who called in two bomb threats during Detroit's playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in January pleaded guilty to the offense in court.

Shawn Payton, 34, admitted a felony charge of using interstate communications to transmit a threat as he appeared Friday afternoon in US District Court in Detroit, MLive.com reported.

Payton called in the hoax threats from his home in Jackson, Mich., in a bizarre attempt to halt the Jan. 7 game, which the Saints went on to win 45-28, after finding a contact for the Superdome reception on the internet.

According to the indictment, he told the receptionist, "I will blow up your building."

In the second message, which was recorded by police after the first threat was reported, he ordered, "I want you to relay a message to the sideline: If your stupid Southern team keeps winning, there will be ... severe consequences, OK?"

FBI agents traced phone records to nab Payton, who later issued a public apology in a newspaper interview.

He said the bomb threats were delivered "in the heat of the moment" and were "something I regret."

Payton will be sentenced Sept. 6. He faces a maximum of five years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine (Fox News, 2012).