Sept. 17, 2001 — Federal law enforcement agents on Monday arrested a St. Croix man for calling in a false bomb threat to the Hovensa refinery a day after terrorists killed thousands of people on the mainland.
U.S. Attorney David Atkinson said FBI agents arrested Norman Rampersad Jr., age unknown, for allegedly making a threatening phone call on Sept. 12 to Bechtel Corp., a subcontractor at the giant Hovensa refinery. The call forced the refinery to shut down while a search was made for an explosive device, Atkinson said.
Atkinson didnt say how FBI agents determined that Rampersad made the call.
Rampersad was arrested for, among other things, maliciously conveying false information to damage and destroy real and personal property and to injure others by means of fire or explosion. He faces a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Rampersad was also charged with transmission of threatening communication in interstate commerce to injure another person, which carries a maximum of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Rampersad has an advice-of-rights hearing at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Atkinson noted that a number of public and private schools on St. Croix and government offices on St. Thomas have received bomb threats in recent days.
On St. Croix early Monday, a threat of a bomb at Central High School sent students and staff out to the football field while a search was conducted. While students waited outside, a rainstorm passed over and soaked the student body. That, said Terrence Joseph, St. Croix superintendent, forced school administrators to send students home for the day.
Darrel Richards, Central High assistant principal, said that the missed day will have to be made up at the end of the year.
Also receiving threats were the Country Day School on St. Croix and the Human Services Department on St. Thomas.