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FBI Release: Press Conference Video

November 16, 2010

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November 16, 2010

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield (IL)


Stu McArthur, Special Agent in Charge of the Springfield Division of the FBI stated:

"Today Cameron McKoy was arrested in Chicago Illinois by FBI Agents and Western Illinois University Police Officers pursuant to a federal complaint charging him with making a bomb threat via telephone to the campus of Western Illinois University on October 25, 2010. While McKoy has only been charged with the Oct. 25 threat at this time, we believe he is responsible for the vast majority of the threats.

As stated in the complaint, from at least October 25, and continuing through at least November 11, 2010, Western Illinois University received a series of phone calls in which threats were made concerning the damaging or destruction of one or more WIU buildings by explosion or bomb. In each instance, the threat was determined to be a hoax.

On October 25, 2010, Western Illinois University received a bomb threat via a telephone call to Tanner Hall dormitory. Upon receipt of the threat, University officials utilized the fire panel system to evacuate the building. Based on information obtained from caller ID, Western Illinois University Police suspected that McKoy was the person who placed the call via his cellular telephone.

Western Illinois University Police subsequently arrested McKoy. After his arrest, he was advised of his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with Detectives. According to the criminal complaint, McKoy admitted to making the bomb threat. Following these events, WIU officials suspended McKoy.

On November 4, at approximately 1:02 p.m., WIU received a bomb threat via a telephone call – again to Tanner Hall. The call included an automated voice, stating: "There is a bomb on the ninth floor, and it's ticking. Please take this message seriously." Law enforcement determined that this call was made using an "automated phone service." An Automated Phone Service is an online call service typically used to make telephone calls in mass quantities by, for example, political or marketing campaigns. On its website, this particular Automated Phone Service represents that its system places calls automatically - and that a customer can either prerecord a message or allow a "text-to-voice engine" to make clear, personalized statements. The service is located outside the state of Illinois and included a feature that allowed a user to try the service for free without registering with the service.

In response to this call, WIU officials issued a message to evacuate the building. Further, the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb squad came to the scene to assist WIU authorities in locating any explosives. Adams County also responded with a dog that is trained in detecting explosives. As stated previously, the threat was determined to be a hoax.

On November 5, at approximately 2:17 p.m., WIU received another bomb threat via telephone to Tanner Hall. This call was determined to have been made from the Automated Phone Service. In the call, the automated voice stated: "I am the person responsible for the bomb threat. I take full responsibility . . . . There is a bomb, and it will go off in 30 minutes." In response to this threat, WIU officials again issued a message to evacuate the building.

Tanner Hall employees reported that they had discovered four additional bomb threat messages on Tanner Hall's voice mail system. It was determined that each of the four calls was made by the Automated Phone Service. The calls were made between November 5th and November 6th. One call stated in part "you got the wrong person in trouble last week. I still live in the building. The building will blow up at 10 tonight." The other calls made equally dangerous claims of explosives and the like. One call included an expletive remark.

On November 9, 2010, at approximately 3:18 p.m., WIU received another bomb threat via telephone at Thompson Hall. This call also was determined to have originated from the same Automated Phone Service and included a bomb threat to the residence hall. In response to the threat, WIU officials issued a message to evacuate the building.

On November 11, 2010, at approximately 10:49 p.m., WIU received another threatening phone call via telephone at Tanner Hall. Once again, the caller ID function indicated the call came from the Automated Phone Service's telephone number. The automated message stated, in part: "I hope you die. I hate this dormitory."

On November 6, 2010, WIU Police Detectives became aware of a Facebook profile called in part "WIUHACKER." The posting claimed responsibility for the bomb threats and stated that police had previously arrested the wrong person. Later that day detectives obtained a search warrant for Facebook customer records and identified the Internet Protocol or "IP" address used to create the "WIUHACKER" Face book account.

The FBI completed an analysis of the computer log records from the Automated Phone Service, which revealed that all of the threat calls originated from the same IP address. The FBI traced the IP Address to an Internet Service Provider. Pursuant to legal process, the FBI obtained subscriber and transactional records from the service provider and determined that for the time period October 28 through November 6, the IP address linked to the Automated Phone Service threat calls, and the WIUHACKER Facebook account, was registered to a person ultimately determined by law enforcement to be an immediate family member of Cameron McKoy. The FBI does not believe this family member was involved in any way.

A federal arrest warrant was subsequently obtained for Cameron McKoy, and as stated he was taken into custody in Chicago earlier this morning without incident.

"I would like to commend the WIU Police Department for their efforts in this case. They have been on top of this investigation since the first call and ultimately partnered with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in investigating the source of these threats," McArthur stated.

The FBI and our law enforcement partners work diligently everyday to investigate threats to our communities. In a post 9-11 world, a proactive use of finite resource is required to investigate every threat until it is resolved. When that threat is determined to be a hoax, additional resources must nonetheless be utilized to insure that the threat was not a "probing" by terrorists to test law enforcement response and capabilities. In this case, the FBI and WIU PD do not believe that the University was ever in actual danger. However, when a threat is ultimately determined to be false – it is clear that finite law enforcement resources have been wasted – and diverted from addressing actual threats that face our nation. I want the public to know that the FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and use all available resources to aggressively address every threat – but we will also aggressively pursue those who waste those resources."

WIU President Al Goldfarb added: "I would like to thank the Office of Public Safety police officers, the FBI and all of the law enforcement and emergency agencies who assisted with the investigation. Because of their persistence and diligence, an individual is in custody. I would also like to thank our residence hall staff for going above and beyond during these incidents. And as I have stated numerous times during these incidents, our community is to be commended on its strength and resilience."


From WIU Office of Public Safety: Law enforcement officials are still investigating two threats that occurred in Higgins Hall Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. In each of these incidents, a note was discovered which alluded to a bomb. The building was evacuated, and the Office of Public Safety and other officials searched the building.

As a result of the five threats following the Oct. 25 incident, additional police officers were hired and assigned to patrol all WIU residence halls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and students living in the halls are now required to show a current WIU I.D. when entering the building.

Individuals with information about the Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 threats to Higgins Hall should contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949 or

Individuals with information leading to an arrest of the person(s) responsible for the Higgins Hall threat may be eligible to receive a reward of up to $10,000 from Western's Stop the Threat Fund through the WIU Foundation. In addition, information regarding these crimes may also be reported to Crime Stoppers, (309) 836-3222 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Callers can also leave an online tip at Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

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