A 22-year-old man unleashed a slew of overnight bomb threats targeting the Mall of America, the Twin Cities airport and numerous metro hotels, at times faking a Middle Eastern accent in the calls.
A 22-year-old man unleashed a slew of overnight bomb threats targeting the Mall of America, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and numerous metro hotels, at times faking a Middle Eastern accent in the calls, according to an indictment filed Tuesday.
Dana W. Ashey, formerly of Lewiston, Maine, was charged in federal court in St. Paul with two counts of false information and hoaxes. He was arrested inside the mall on April 12, slightly more than 12 hours after the calls were made.
Under questioning by investigators, Ashey admitted to calling in bomb threats to the mall and the airport and “characterized his threats as pranks.” He also said he made similar calls to metro hotels.
Mall security searched all the bathrooms, with help from a bomb squad K9. No explosives were found at the mall or the airport.
According to the charges:
Ashey called airport police at 2:37 a.m. and said a bomb would go off in the bathroom at 3 a.m. “The caller’s voice was consistent with a male attempting to mimic a Middle Eastern accent,” the court filing read.
A virtually identical call was made 5 minutes later to security dispatch for the mall.
The call to airport police was traced to a phone number in Maine, and investigators learned that the cellphone was roaming cell towers in the Twin Cities area.
Phone records show five calls to numbers for the airport were made from 2:30 a.m. to 2:40 a.m.
Having secured a booking photograph from police in Lewiston, Maine, security spotted Ashey in the mall shortly after 3:15 p.m. and apprehended him.
Ashey’s criminal history includes convictions in 2009 for making a criminal threat and for receiving stolen property.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482