Student, 20, charged for making fake bomb threat

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Student, 20, charged for making fake bomb threat

A Harvard University student was charged with making a false claim that bombs had been placed in up to four buildings on the school’s campus in an attempt to get out of taking a final exam, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The prestigious Ivy League school evacuated four buildings on its centuries-old campus a day earlier in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after receiving emails that U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday had been sent by 20-year-old student Eldo Kim, originally from Seoul.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tracked down Kim at his dorm. According to prosecutors, after being read his Miranda rights, Kim stated that “he authored the bomb threat emails ... motivated by a desire to avoid a final exam.”

The Harvard student is due in federal court in Boston on Wednesday to face one charge of making a false bomb report.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

According to two university officials and the Harvard Crimson student newspaper, the emails sent to the Harvard University Police Department said that “shrapnel bombs” had been placed in two of four named halls, which included classroom buildings and a dormitory.

The threat drew a heavy police response, with local, state and federal agents swarming onto the campus.

The Boston area has been in an elevated state of alert since April, when a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs filled with shrapnel was detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264.

Kim could not be reached for immediate comment.

The Harvard Crimson website quoted a friend and former dorm-mate of Kim’s as saying it was “pretty surprising to hear that he went to such great lengths to avoid a final that he probably would have done well on anyway.”

Monday’s incident at Harvard was the second major security scare at a prominent U.S. university to be labeled a hoax in the past two months.

Late last month, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, placed its campus on lockdown for almost a day after an anonymous caller warned officials that his roommate was headed to the school planning to shoot people. No gunman was found, and police now regard the incident as a hoax.

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