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FBI identifies juvenile as ringleader behind nationwide HBCU bomb threats

The threats were made in January and February.

ATLANTA — Evidence in the months-long investigation into a series of bomb threats targeting historically Black colleges and universities points to one juvenile, federal authorities said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced one person is believed to be responsible for a majority of the threats made earlier this year. Several HBCUs were targeted, including Atlanta's Spelman College and other Georgia institutions such as Fort Valley State and Albany State University. The threats happened between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16.

There are 104 colleges in the U.S. that are recognized as HBCUs by the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly 20 those reported bomb threats between Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, according to investigators. FBI agents also broadened its scope to investigate more than 50 houses of worship, academic institutions and other faith-based locations. The agency did not offer details on which faith-based institutions have received threats.

No explosive devices related to these threats have been found, according to the FBI. However, the agency continued to investigate these threats.

"The investigation of racially motivated threats of violence targeting historically Black colleges and universities has identified one juvenile believed to be responsible for a majority of the threats and the Department of Justice has worked with state prosecutors to hold the minor accountable," the FBI said in a news release.

Federal investigators originally said the identification of several minors was believed to be responsible for the first set of threats the first month they were being made. Further FBI investigation identified one individual as the mastermind behind the nationwide threats.

The FBI said the bomb threats had been made in phone calls, emails, instant messages and anonymous online posts.

"Given the federal limitations for charging under-age perpetrators with federal crimes, the Department of Justice worked with state prosecutors to hold them accountable on charges unrelated to the specific threats to the HBCUs," the FBI said. "This individual is under restrictions and monitoring of his online activities.

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