The 21-year-old Wethersfield resident arrested in connection with a bomb threat at UConn in April is now facing federal charges, and officials say he had a hand in at least five other threats.
Matthew Tollis was arrested on federal charges Wednesday. He told police he is the son of a Connecticut state trooper, according to the arrest warrant application.
Tollis was a member of an online community known as “Team Crucifix or Die” (TCOD), comprised of X-Box gamers who use Skype to call in false bomb threats, hostage situations, gun scares and mass murders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He has been involved in at least six “swatting” incidents, including a bomb threat at UConn and other schools in New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.
Tollis was arrested Sept. 3 in connection with the April 3 bomb threat at UConn, which sparked a “multiple hour, campus-wide lockdown” that drew UConn police, a state police bomb squad and SWAT teams to the scene, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Morning classes were canceled and a Tasker admissions official pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the building, according to court documents.
School officials said the caller claimed someone had planted explosives in the building the night before and wanted to “kill people.” Tollis is not a UConn student and said he believed the school was targeted because of the success of the men and women's basketball teams, which won NCAA championships.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says TCOD members have been found responsible for six additional swatting incidents in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Three of the suspects live in the United Kingdom and have made swatting calls from abroad.
The FBI is working with UK officials to identify those suspects.
Tollis is charged with conspiring to engage in a bomb threat hoax, aiding and abetting a bomb threat hoax and aiding and abetting the malicious conveying of false information regarding an attempt or alleged attempt to kill, injure or intimidate or to unlawfully damage or destroy a building or personal property by means of an explosive.
He could face a total of 15 years in prison if convicted on federal charges. Tollis appeared in court after his arrest and remains in custody.
He was due in court Sept. 11 to answer to state charges and will face a judge on federal charges Sept. 12.