Photo Courtesy of Google
The Queens Place Mall in Elmhurst.
A Massachusetts man has been charged with making terroristic threats and other felony offenses for allegedly planting a fake bomb on top of a car at the Queens Place Mall in Elmhurst, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced last Wednesday.
Louis Shenker, 22, of Amherst, Mass., has been arraigned on charges of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in a sports stadium or arena, mass transportation facility, or enclosed shopping mall, and making a terroristic threat. Shenker was ordered held without bail and scheduled to return to court on Jan. 25.
Katz said that, according to the criminal charges, on Monday, Jan. 4, at approximately 4:50 a.m., the defendant and an unapprehended other perpetrator were observed by a City Police officer standing next to a black Tesla that displayed a Nevada loaner license plate. The vehicle had both its front and rear hoods and all four doors open. Officer Cruz further observed the defendant and unapprehended other perpetrator attempting to charge the vehicle with an electric bike. Shenker told the officer that the vehicle belonged to the unapprehended other perpetrator and that Shenker was driving it when it stalled on the parking garage ramp. The officer then received and reviewed a Massachusetts driver’s license belonging to Shenker and a California state ID card belonging to the unapprehended other perpetrator and observed blankets, clothing, a dog and a Black Lives Matter sign inside of the vehicle. The officer was then informed by the defendant that a tow company had been called.
Furthermore, at approximately 7:35 a.m. the Black Tesla, with Nevada Loaner license plate #28922 was observed by an employee of the Queens Place Mall, covered in blankets, cardboard boxes, a Black Lives Matter sign, a dog inside the vehicle, and a gas tank with wires coming out which appeared to be a bomb.
Continuing, said DA Katz, at approximately 9:35 a.m., NYPD Bomb Squad Det. Sean Mulcahy, arrived at the scene and observed the vehicle inside the parking garage and, based on his training and experience in the identification of explosives, determined that no explosives were present and that this was a hoax device designed to appear to be a bomb.
Katz said that the defendant turned himself in to the police at the NYPD’s 71st Precinct in Brooklyn, at approximately 3 a.m. last Tuesday morning.
“Sadly, we live in a world where terror attacks are far too real. Fake bombs and hoaxes of any kind create panic and fear,” the district attorney added. “The defendant in this case is accused of making terroristic threats and constructing a device that looked like it was set to explode in a shopping center parking structure. We take all potential threats seriously and the defendant now faces felony charges for his alleged actions.”
If convicted, Shenker faces up to 7 years in prison.