Local
2:17 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Pitt Officials Praise Arrest In Connection With Bomb Threats

The chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh said the arrest of an Ohio man marks "significant progress" as federal authorities continue to investigate a series of bomb internet threats that disrupted campus life for several weeks earlier this year.

Mark Nordenberg said in a statement that the threats were a "source of anxiety" for Pitt students and employees and "interfered with the work of one of the region's most important institutions."

24-year-old Alexander Waterland of Loveland, Ohio was arrested Wednesday. He will face a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh next week on charges that he posted an anonymous YouTube video and a follow-up comment claiming to have stolen computer records from the University of Pittsburgh and threatening to release them unless Nordenberg apologized for not protecting students during the weeks of bomb threats.

University officials have said they believe that the records were never hacked but the threat "disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of Pitt students and employees."

Waterland denied the charges in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but then refused to repeat his denial or otherwise comment when reached by The Associated Press.

He told the newspaper he has "no idea" why the FBI charged him, and said he has no connections to the university. Reached by the AP shortly after that report, Waterland said he doesn't wish to comment until he speaks with an attorney.

Asked if he still denies the charges, Waterland said, "I don't even want to say that right now."

Waterland is not charged in the bomb threats, but U.S. Attorney David Hickton said the investigation is continuing into Waterland's alleged activities, as well as bomb threats, most of which were emailed and others written in bathroom stalls of campus buildings.