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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Suspect in custody for Wheatley Bomb threats

Dean+Beckford
Dean Beckford

On Thursday, April 17, at 12:40 pm, a report of a bomb was received by an administrator in the College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Mathematics on the second floor of Wheatley Hall. The building was swept by bomb squad technicians and a K-9 team, but nothing was found.

On Tuesday, April 22, Wheatley Hall was evacuated again for another bomb threat. Again, the building was searched by technicians and K-9 teams but nothing showed up.

During the incident on Tuesday, a black male was seen being led away from the area in handcuffs by police.

On Wednesday, April 23, it was revealed that the arrested male was senior Dean Beckford. The 29-year old was charged with “two counts of threat concerning the location of dangerous items or a hijack” according to school officials.

Beckford is potentially facing imprisonment if found guilty. According to Massachusetts General Law, his punishment could include “imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 3 years nor more than 20 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than 6 months nor more than 21/2 years, or by fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $50,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

The searches was conducted by several different agencies including the MBTA Transit Police, the Boston Police Department, and the Massachusetts State Police.

UMass Boston Public Safety Chief Donald Baynard congratulated his officers.

“I commend my staff for their timely and thorough investigation that led to this arrest.”

He added, On behalf of the university, I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to the MBTA Police for their assistance in the investigation, and to the Massachusetts State Police and Boston Police Department for their assistance during the incidents.

Students were quick to condemn Beckford’s actions.

Sophomore Lauren Sosa commented that actions like Beckford’s are “dumb and people are wasting other people’s time with their stupidity”.

Student Chisom Udengwo said that “a student who disrupts people from learning and getting successful in life by creating bomb panics should know he/she is not eligible to be a student.”

UMass Boston Director of Communications DeWayne Lehman said, “Events such as this cause a great deal of inconvenience for the entire campus community. It is highly regrettable, and reprehensible, that someone would choose to make this kind of unfounded threat,” he furthered “We must take reported threats to the safety of the campus community seriously to ensure the safety of all of our students, faculty, and staff”.

Chief added that he hopes “this will be a clear and resounding message that we take these types of actions very seriously, and will aggressively investigate and pursue criminal charges when unfounded threats are made to the safety of the campus.”