A worker at Northeastern University’s virtual reality lab was arrested Tuesday for arranging an apparent hoax that evacuated parts of campus and touched off a search at other Boston colleges and universities, according to the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.
Authorities have charged Jason Duhaime with one count of conveying false and misleading information related to an explosive device and one count of making materially false statements to a federal enforcement agent.
Duhaime was employed as the new technology manager and director of the immersive media lab at Northeastern University.
“In a recorded 911 call and in a subsequent recorded conversation with a federal law enforcement agent, Duhaime reported that he was injured by ‘sharp’ objects expelled from a plastic case that he opened inside the Immersive Media Lab (the ‘Lab’) on the evening of September 12, 2022,” the complaint said.
There was no evidence the package, contained in a hard plastic Pelican case, ever exploded. The package also included a threatening letter directed at the lab, the complaint said.
The FBI said Duhaime himself authored the threatening letter and the case contained no “sharp” objects. Agents are still investigating a motive.
Forensic analysis of one of the computers seized during a search of Duhaime’s office at Northeastern allegedly revealed a word-for-word electronic copy of the letter stored in a backup folder. Meta data associated with the file reflected a date and time of Sept. 13 at 2:57 p.m., roughly four hours prior to when Duhaime called 911, according to United States Attorney Rachael Rollins.
It’s unclear if Duhaime has obtained a lawyer.
Northeastern is a private research university located in Boston.
ABC News’ Alexandra Faul contributed to this report.