HAMDEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former student accused of calling in a bomb threat to Quinnipiac University on Sunday in an effort to force commencement ceremonies to be canceled so her parents wouldn’t find out she wasn’t graduating appeared before a judge Monday.
Danielle Shea, 22, of Quincy, Mass., made two calls to the university’s Public Safety Department on Sunday evening, according to police.
In the first, about 20 minutes before the start of the 6 p.m. graduation ceremony, she stated there was a “bomb in the library,” said police. In the second call, about 20 minutes later, police said Shea warned, “Several bombs are on campus” and noted, “You haven’t cleared out graduation. That’s not a good idea.”
Police said Shea didn’t attend the university this year, but her mother paid thousands of dollars she thought was for her daughter’s education. When graduation arrived, Shea panicked when relatives didn’t see her name on the graduation roster, they said.
She made the threats in an attempt to have the graduation canceled, police said.
But the ceremony, which was supposed to be held in the campus quad, was moved indoors to the athletic arena, the TD Bank Sports Center.
Hamden and university police identified Shea using the telephone number she’d called from — her own cellphone — and then found her at the arena, wearing a cap and gown she’d purchased.
“This was an example of excellent team work between our Public Safety Department and the Hamden Police Department,” University spokesman John Morgan told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “They were able to figure out and then capture a suspect within two hours of this first threat coming in.”
Shea gave a detailed confession after being arrested, police said.
She has been charged with first-degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident. She was arraigned Monday in Meriden Superior Court and released on $10,000 bond.
In court, Shea kept her head down, hands cuffed behind her, and didn’t speak a single word in court, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Judge Philip Scarpellino didn’t mince words.
“This was a big mistake,” he said. “This inconvenienced a lot of people for some very, very selfish, minimal reasons.”
Shea and her mother refused to comment outside court. Shea has yet to explain what happened to the tuition money that her family gave her. She is due back in court in June.
Morgan said 388 students were part of the commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences. The ceremony was delayed 90 minutes due to the threats.
Two earlier ceremonies were held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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