A 64-year-old man has been charged with sending more than 40 email bomb threats targeting the University of Pittsburgh this spring.
Adam Stuart Busby of Dublin, Ireland faces 35 total counts of wire fraud, maliciously conveying false information, and international extortion for the Pitt bomb threats, made in March and April.
Busby also faces four separate counts of maliciously conveying false information for claiming that bombs had been placed in federal courthouses in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Johnstown. In total, the charges could cost Busby decades of prison time and thousands of dollars in penalties.
U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania David Hickton announced the charges in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Hickton said there is no apparent link between Busby and the university.
"I'm not sure we can say beyond what's in the indictments at this point. I think that may still be determined," said Hickton. "But basically, he is not a member of this community, and he does not have a connection to Pittsburgh."
Hickton credited an international law enforcement team with tracking down Busby on the internet; he said Busby routed the threatening emails through several European countries, including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
The suspect is currently in custody in Ireland on unrelated charges. Hickton said it was uncertain if Busby would be extradited to Pittsburgh to face the bomb threat charges.
Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said university buildings were evacuated 136 times this spring due to the bomb threats. He said the school spent at least $300,000 on extra security measures, but he said that's not the only cost for Pitt.
"These threats were being received at the very time of the year that is most critical to the student recruitment process," said Nordenberg. "I can't quantify it, and I'm not sure that it will be significant, but it would surprise me if there is not some kind of impact on the entering freshman class this fall."
Nordenberg suggested Pitt would only pursue a lawsuit to recover the $300,000 in expenses if it was clear that Busby had the resources to pay.
In a related case, Hickton announced charges against 24-year-old Alexander Waterland of Loveland, Ohio, and 26-year-old Brett Hudson of Hillsboro, Ohio. The two are charged with conspiracy after they allegedly targeted Pitt's website with computer hacking threats. They are scheduled for arraignment in Pittsburgh next week.