A University at Albany football player is charged with threatening to blow up the school, the second time in less than a month a Capital Region student has been accused of using the social media app Yik Yak to make such a threat.
Jordan Crockett, 18, of Fort Washington, Maryland, a freshman backup wide receiver, has been suspended indefinitely by the Great Danes in the wake of his arrest, UAlbany spokesman Karl Luntta said Thursday, though he was not suspended academically.
The threat appeared on the app Tuesday. With cooperation from Yik Yak and in conjunction with the UAlbany’s Information Technology Services, university police evaluated the threat and identified the poster as a UAlbany student, authorities said. Crockett was arrested and charged Wednesday.
“He gave a fake name and said, ‘I’m going to blow up the school,’ ” University Police Investigator Jeremy Clapper said. “It didn’t take long [to make an arrest]. We had cooperation from the app.”
Yik Yak, the popular, year-old social media app, also has proved to be a platform nationwide for making anonymous threats. Locally, a bomb threat against Shenendehowa High School East was discovered Oct. 19, prompting a sweep by a bomb-detection dog — no explosives were found — and the arrest the next day of a Latham teen.
As was the case in the Shen incident, Crockett is charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident. It is a Class E felony in New York for anyone to issue a false bomb threat directed toward a school. He was released on an appearance ticket, UAlbany police said.
Yik Yak only shows posts — “yaks” — within a 1.5-mile radius. No personal information is needed to sign up, but users employ their (traceable) smartphones to do so.
Yik Yak has been mired in controversy from its launch. There have been numerous incidents of threats against schools and individuals posted on the app, and subsequent arrests. In protest, Norwich University in Vermont blocked access to the app on campus. The app is designed to be blocked on high school campuses, though as the Shen case shows, it works just fine nearby.
“Yik Yak have been extremely cooperative in all the cases that I’ve seen,” Clapper said.
This is the first incident of a threat involving Yik Yak at UAlbany, and the first bomb threat this semester at the university, officials said.