Police: Dropout threatened graduation ceremony

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Associated Press

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Updated Monday, May 19 at 3:10 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A woman trying to keep her family from learning she had dropped out of college called in bomb threats to a commencement ceremony at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, police said Monday.

Danielle Shea of Quincy, Massachusetts, was wearing a cap and gown when she was arrested Sunday.

Hamden police said Shea left the college this year because of financial issues, including an unpaid tuition balance, but her mother continued to pay thousands of dollars she thought was for her daughter's education.

"She was living off-campus. Her mother thought she was going to school," Hamden police Capt. Ronald Smith said.

On graduation day, Shea's mother tried to obtain a ticket for a ramp where relatives could take photographs of the graduates, but the registrar's office told her Shea was not enrolled. Shea overheard the conversation, then stepped away and allegedly called in the first bomb threat to try to cancel the ceremony, Smith said.

The threats delayed the start of the ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences by an hour and a half, and it was moved to a second location at the indoor athletic arena as a security precaution.

Shea, 22, was arraigned Monday in Meriden Superior Court where bond was set at $10,000. Her attorney and a prosecutor asked for her to be released on a promise to appear, but the judge said he was troubled by the defendant's actions.

According to police, Shea made two calls to the university's public safety department. In the first, about 20 minutes before the start of the 6 p.m. graduation ceremony, she stated there was a "bomb in the library," said police. In the second call, about 20 minutes later, police said Shea warned that "several bombs are on campus" and noted, "You haven't cleared out graduation. That's not a good idea."

Hamden and university police identified Shea using the cellphone number she'd called from and then found her inside the TD Bank Sports Center, where the ceremony was moved after the threats.

She is charged with first degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident.

Messages were left at her mother's home.

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