Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Man arrested for email threats against professors at University of Pittsburgh
As federal investigators apparently close in on a suspect in a spate of bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh, campus police arrested a 65-year-old New York man on April 11 for making email threats against professors there.
The man, however, apparently hasn’t been charged with steady stream of bomb threats that have plagued the school since February.
The University of Pittsburgh police on the afternoon of April 11 executed a warrant for the arrest of Mark Lee Krangle, said a university statement. Krangle was taken into custody at Pittsburgh International Airport with the help of the Allegheny County Police Department and charged with one count of terrorist threats and one count of harassment by communication.
The Pittsburgh Tribune reported that Krangle sent emails to four current and retired Pitt professors, giving them PDF copies of his book, "Revolution or Extinction." He said he was coming to Pittsburgh to get his story covered and that the bomb threats were an attempt to support his cause, said the paper.
The university has received 60 escalating bomb threats since then against iconic buildings on the school’s campus. University Chancellor Mark Nordenberg’s home was also threatened.
The threats, first scrawled on the walls of some of the school’s buildings, then through the mail, have driven students our of dormitories and forced new on-campus security procedures. The university’s administration has been posting updates for students, faculty and parents on its Website since the threats began in February. It is also offering a $50,000 reward for information.
The threats escalated on April 9, with reports saying that four had been made by mid-afternoon, starting at about 4 a.m.
A Facebook page with the user name Mark Lee Krangle remained up the morning of April 12 and had postings musing about the threats at Pittsburgh along with rambling statements about the university’s “corruption, ” and “that Pittsburgh may be the Gomorrah to New York’s Sodom,” as well as speculation about who was making the bomb threats. He said in several posts that he wasn’t responsible for them. Krangle’s page also said he was a graduate student at the university in the 1970’s.
Even after Krangle was arrested, the university statement said the investigation into the bomb threats continues.
It appeared a corner had been turned in the investigation on April 11, as a vague statement was issued by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, David Hickton.
Hickton said “significant progress” had been made in the investigation into the threats, but didn’t specify what the progress was. He advised students and faculty to “persevere in their daily work in the classrooms and on campus.”
He also thanked the students and community for “the information they have provided so far” that helped focus the investigation on potential suspects, indicating law enforcement received a tip from those sources on a suspect.