Massachusetts podcaster surrenders to NYC police in connection with Queens mall bombing 'hoax': reports
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A Massachusetts man believed to be connected to a New York City bombing hoax turned himself in to police in the Big Apple on Tuesday morning and is being questioned by investigators just one day after a Queens mall was evacuated in response to a suspicious Tesla with what appeared to be an explosive inside, according to officials and reports.
Louis Shenker called 911 around 3 a.m. and turned himself in to authorities at a Brooklyn police precinct shortly thereafter in connection with the Monday morning bomb threat, law enforcement sources confirmed to Fox News. Investigators with the New York Police Department were still interviewing him as of Tuesday at 10 a.m.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism John Miller said police received a call shortly after 7:30 a.m. from the Queens Center Mall about a suspicious vehicle. The vehicle was reportedly left midway up a ramp within the garage and was parked in the center of the lane, which prevented other cars from getting by.
"They said there were propane tanks and wires protruding from the vehicle," he said. Police then taped off and evacuated the area with help from the Fire Department of New York as the city's bomb squad probed further.
"They were able to clear this vehicle and determine that it was not an explosive device although, based on their expertise, it appeared to be," Miller said. "The bomb squad has determined that this is a hoax device, which means in their judgment it was set up to appear to be a device."
Police later tweeted a photo showing the "hoax device," which appeared to have been made up of a roll of tape, wiring and an aerosol-type can, among other things. The picture shows the car was at least partially covered with cardboard or a tarp-like material. Police also discovered a husky-breed dog was inside the dark-colored Tesla with a Nevada license plate.
Shenker was linked to an address in Brooklyn, a law enforcement source said, but has a home address in Amherst, Mass., the New York Daily News reported.
Several reports indicate the Tesla had been reported stolen and also had a Black Lives Matter-related sign inside.
According to The New York Times, Shenker – a man with "extremist right-wing views" – was arrested two times in the past week for allegedly burning signage near Gracie Mansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s famed residence.
Shenker, the host of a podcast called "The Minuteman," had in the past threatened to thwart Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election and perform a citizen’s arrest on de Blasio, a Democrat, the Times reported.
The FBI reportedly interviewed him last month for allegedly making threats during a broadcast at a Staten Island demonstrator in support of Mac’s Public House, where people protested masks and COVID-19 shutdown requirements.
A post on Shenker's Instagram allegedly shows Shenker setting fire to a photo of George Floyd, a Black Minnesota man who died in May after a White police officer held his knee on his neck for several minutes, NBC News reported.
NBC was first to report Shenker as one of the NYPD’s suspects.
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Police are seeking a second person who had been spotted at the scene earlier Monday morning with Shenker, according to The Times.
The NYPD could not immediately provide Fox News with additional information regarding Shenker or a second suspect.
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