Man arrested in bomb scares called in at least 40 threats, FBI says

The man arrested Monday night in connection with a series of a recent bomb scares made more than 40 such threats during a single week this month, according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent.

Jahvar Hooks, 30, has been charged with making threatening phone calls between Aug. 12 and Monday.

After his arrest by New Orleans police, Hooks admitted making the calls, but told authorities he has “mental health issues” and has taken medication in the past, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Natalie Phelan filed into the public record Wednesday.

Hooks also said he had spoken to a counselor at Covenant House on Monday “advising that he needed help.”

Along with allegedly phoning in threats to Craig Elementary School in Treme and the two city courthouses on South Broad Street — threats that in some cases prompted evacuations — Hooks also called in bomb threats to various hotels and casinos, the affidavit said.

Some of the calls were made from a cellphone, but the calls from that phone ended Aug. 14. The subsequent calls came from pay phones around the city, it said.

Police collared Hooks after a bomb threat was called in from a pay phone in the 1700 block of North Rampart Street, outside the Rampart Food Store.

They reviewed surveillance footage provided by the store and got a look at the man using the phone at the time of the threat.

Officers spotted Hooks about a dozen blocks away and continued watching him. Less than an hour later, according to the affidavit, he made another call from a pay phone near North Rampart and Toulouse streets as officers watched.

When officers detained him, Hooks admitted making all the “bomb calls,” though he said he couldn’t remember the times, dates and locations of all of the threats, the affidavit said.

He acknowledged “all of the bomb threats were me.”

The charge Hooks faces carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Hooks has been arrested numerous times in New Orleans dating back to 2001, but never for a crime of violence.

He has two arrests for marijuana possession, two arrests related to solicitation of prostitution and one arrest for unauthorized use of a moveable.

He pleaded guilty in at least three of those cases, and received jail sentences of six months or less.

The investigation was led by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with assistance from New Orleans police, FBI officials have said.