CONCORD — Police have arrested a man believed to be responsible for threats against the capital’s Jewish community, Gov. Chris Sununu, and the State House building.
Brian Roberts, 38, of Concord, was charged with criminal threatening, a misdemeanor, for sending an electronic message to the Central Intelligence Agency stating that he was “going to shoot Gov state of NH no matter what,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement Tuesday.
Roberts allegedly sent several messages to the CIA that included specific threats and statements expressing hatred of the Jewish community.
On Friday night, Rabbi Robin Nafshi of Temple Beth Jacob in Concord was preparing to begin services for the Sabbath when police informed her of the threat.
Officers told her that the suspect “was a fairly prolific emailer to the CIA, that they had received many emails from him over the years, that he seemed to be pretty sophisticated computer-wise and they could not trace the email address or IP (address) to any particular person,” Nafshi said.
Monday night, officers again stopped by the temple with photographs of a suspect.
The investigation into the threats was a collaboration between Concord police, state police, and the FBI.
“Law enforcement should be commended for their swift response in investigating, identifying, and apprehending the suspect,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. “Racism, anti-Semitism, and threats of any kind will not be tolerated in New Hampshire.”
Roberts has a short criminal history.
In 2013, he was found guilty of disorderly conduct in a Concord District Court case and given a suspended sentence provided he demonstrated good behavior for one year.
In 2015, he was again charged with disorderly conduct and the case was placed on file without finding providing he went one year with good behavior, according to Lancaster District Court records.
Roberts is scheduled to be arraigned on the criminal threatening charge Wednesday in Concord District Court.
The CIA alerted local authorities to the threats against the Jewish community on the same night that Jews around the country were observing the last day of a period of mourning for 11 congregants killed in the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Sunday also marked the beginning of Hanukkah.
“I reminded everyone that Hanukkah began Sunday night and that throughout our history Jews have been persecuted and pursued but that we have also thrived and survived,” Nafshi said. “I said that we would also survive this and shine our lights of Hanukkah brightly.”