Police question two men about threats to Jewish community
By JEWISH REVIEW
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Law enforcement authorities reportedly have identified a 21-year-old Vancouver man as the individual who made two threatening telephone calls to Congregation Beth Israel on the night of June 16.
Jewish Federation of Greater Portland Community Relations Director Robert Horenstein said the suspect, whose name was not made public, “admitted making the calls and the FBI is now working with the U.S. Attorney’s office to determine if a crime has been committed.”
The alleged caller, whom authorities described to Horenstein as having “low intelligence and no means to carry out any threats,” reportedly said over the phone, “The Nazis are coming to get you; there will be another Holocaust” and “You killed my Lord. You will pay.”
The calls were left on the CBI’s voice mail system and were first heard the next morning by Rabbi Michael Cahana.
Cahana said, “I was very, very pleased at the responsiveness of the Portland Police and FBI. They gave us a strong sense that they were taking this seriously and we were in very good hands.”
The rabbi declined to elaborate on the incident.
Portland FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said her office could not comment on an ongoing investigation but that the FBI was “working closely with the folks at the temple as well as the Portland Police Bureau.”
Prior to police identification of the Vancouver man, Horenstein said in an e-mail alert that law enforcement officials had speculated the caller may have been a 24-year-old Los Angeles man who operates the Web site theiprophet.blip.tv/ (since taken offline) on which Jews have been vilified.
Horenstein identified that man as Andrew Auernheimer. In a video that was on Auernheimer’s Web site he said, “I’ve got to skip town. There are some big Jews that want to hand me a summons. …On the 16th (of June) I am taking a pilgrimage northward to Portland.”
Auernheimer was detained and questioned by members of the FBI and the Portland Police Bureau, first in Grants Pass and later in Wilsonville, according to Horenstein.
Horenstein said, “Portland police now believe him to be a much lower-level threat than was believed previously, but stress that they will continue to monitor him.”
Auernheimer reportedly was warned not to go near any Jewish congregation or agency. Horenstein said he was told that Auernheimer had no plans to do so and that he claimed “he has no violent intentions.”
Horenstein said Auernheimer drives a 2000 silver Honda Civic with California license plate 6EFJ814 and was traveling with a Native American woman. He said that if Auernheimer is seen near any Jewish facility, authorities should be notified immediately by calling 911.
Horenstein expressed gratitude for the work of the law enforcement personnel: “We should all be deeply grateful to the FBI and Portland police, especially officers Brian Hughes and Tony Cavalli, for their commitment to keeping us all safe.”
Hughes referred inquiries to PPB spokeswoman Det. Mary Weed who did not return telephone calls before the Jewish Review’s press time.