On July 2, 2018, George Rita II, 42, of Carbondale, Illinois, appeared in United States District Court on a Complaint charging him with falsely making a threat to blow up a Carbondale, Illinois Military Recruiting Center, Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today.
Rita was arrested and charged on June 29, 2018, for posting a threatening anonymous message to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tip line located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The message claimed that the sender planned to go to a recruitment center and blow it up and that no one could stop him. No location was given for the threatened recruitment center.
Agents of the FBI were able to determine that the threat received in West Virginia originated in Southern Illinois and ultimately tracked the internet connection that was the source of the threat back to Rita’s Carbondale apartment. Agents also determined that the threat was against a U.S. Military Recruiting Center in Carbondale, close to Rita’s apartment.
The complaint charges Rita with Maliciously Conveying False Information Regarding a Bomb Threat in violation to Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(e). This violation carries possible penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Rita was ordered detained in federal custody by a United States Magistrate Judge pending further court proceedings.
A criminal complaint is a formal charge against a defendant that is comprised of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI, with assistance from the Carbondale, Illinois Police Department and the United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.