Man behind Ithaca Commons bomb hoax pleads guilty
Though the suspected bomb in a box turned out to be a book, an Ithaca man may wind up behind bars for creating a scare last fall on The Commons.
Following his arrest in October, Matthew Whitney, 37, told Ithaca Police and FBI investigators that he placed a brown cardboard Nike box marked “Bomb” on The Commons to promote his “free energy cause,” according to court records.
The package was found just before 3 p.m. Oct. 11 outside the Bank of America building on The Commons. Ithaca police evacuated The Commons, and several businesses in the downtown area were forced to close for nearly four hours.
“It seemed to be an inconspicuous way to go about what I was doing,” Whitney told investigators when they asked why he placed the box in front of the bank. “I kind of knew this was futile, but to answer your question. Humanity has an option to free energy, and that was the message I was trying to get across.”
He had written to Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and another news outlet and told them that he had placed the box, Whitney said.
“I explained why I did it and hoped that (Myrick) would be the outlet to allow me to explain to the city why I did what I did,” Whitney told investigators. His e-mail to Myrick, Whitney added, said that he was proud to be an Ithacan and that he hoped they could help each other.
Whitney is scheduled to be sentenced on March 5. He is being held in the Tompkins County Jail without bail.Written by
5:00 PM, Jan 30, 2013