Neptune Walmart Isn’t Just A Victim To Shoplifting Anymore: Now Its Receiving Terroristic Threats

Neptune NJ Terroristic Threat Defense Lawyer

Last week, Monmouth County authorities announced that an 11-year-old boy phoned in a bomb threat to the Neptune Walmart Store. The boy called the Walmart on Route 66 in Neptune just after 1 p.m. and apparently informed an employee that there was a bomb inside the store and that everyone should be evacuated. This was a sharp departure from the slew of calls the police receive for shoplifting at the same store annually.

Bomb-sniffing dogs searched the store but found nothing. An investigation was then initiated, and the 11-year-old was located as the caller shortly after the incident. In all, the prank phone call engaged the Monmouth and Ocean County sheriff’s departments, New Jersey Transit police, Middletown police, and the Neptune Township police. All of those resources cost the taxpayers quite a bit of money. “Prank phone calls about bomb threats or guns are not a laughing matter,” noted the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

So, what could have given an 11-year-old the idea to call in a bomb threat? In fact, it was a YouTube video that did the persuading. Apparently, the boy saw something similar on a YouTube video, prompting him to do the same. The Monmouth County Prosecutor added that, “Parents have a responsibility to monitor what their children do on the Internet, where these ideas can be cultivated.” The boy has been charged with both making a terroristic threat and a false alarm. His case is schedule to be heard at the Monmouth County Juvenile Court in Freehold New Jersey.

Creating a False Alarm or Making a Terroristic Threat in Monmouth County

Although the 11-year-old’s case will be handled in juvenile court, had the child been an adult, he would likely be charged with Creating a False Alarm or maybe even Terroristic Threats.

Creating a False Alarm. The crime of creating a false public alarm makes it illegal to make a false report that a disastrous event will occur such as bombing, fire, or shooting, knowing that the report is false and will result in the evacuation of a building, facility, or other public place. In particular, N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3 provides as follows:

“[A] person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he initiates or circulates a report or warning of an impending fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe, emergency, or any other incident knowing that the report or warning is false or baseless and that it is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport, or to cause public inconvenience or alarm.”

A third-degree false public alarm charge could result in 3 to 5 years in prison. It is most likely that the 11-year-old was not aware of just how seriously law enforcement takes bomb threats. As the Monmouth County Prosecutor said, such pranks are “no laughing matter.”

Terroristic Threats. The crime of making terroristic threats makes it illegal to make a threat of violence with the purpose of terrorizing, or made with reckless disregard of the risk that people would be put in fear. In particular, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3, provides as follows:

  1. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency[.]
  2. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.

With regard to penalties for making a terroristic threat, a third-degree crime has the possible penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison, and a second-degree crime has the possible penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

Hopefully, even at 11 years old, the prankster will now be able to appreciate the serious consequences of calling in a bomb threat and will never do it again.

Monmouth County Juvenile Defense Lawyers

What is most intriguing about this case is the fact that an 11-year-old was the perpetrator of a bomb threat, after getting the idea from YouTube video. If your child has done something serious, and you need a lawyer who is experienced in juvenile court matters, we welcome you to call The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. The defense lawyers on our staff have represented juveniles at the Superior Court in Freehold for decades with countless success stories. Call us for a free consultation with an attorney with the know-how to help you. The number for our Freehold office is 732-462-1197.