HAMDEN, Conn. - Fearful that her family would learn she was not graduating, a 22-year-old woman phoned in bomb threats to Quinnipiac University in Connecticut on Sunday to try and force commencement ceremonies to be canceled, police said.
Hamden police said Danielle Shea of Quincy, Mass., gave a detailed confession after being arrested at the indoor campus athletic arena, the TD Bank Sports Center, where the commencement for the university's College of Arts and Sciences had been moved because of the threats. She was wearing a cap and gown she'd purchased.
Police said Shea didn't attend the university this year, but her mother paid thousands of dollars she thought was for her daughter's education. When graduation arrived, Shea panicked when relatives didn't see her name on the graduation roster, authorities said.
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 "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, whom they identified as a former Quinnipiac student, using the telephone number she'd called from and then found her at the arena.
She has been charged with first degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident. She is being held on $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on May 30.
"This person made very irresponsible decisions and a great disruption to those who deserve this ceremony without it," Chief Thomas Wydra of the Hamden Police Department said, according to CBS affiliate WFSB.
University spokesman John Morgan said 388 students were part of the commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences. It was delayed 90 minutes due to the threats.
Two earlier ceremonies were held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
"We were all a little on edge and it was hectic," recent Quinnipiac graduate Ashley Srgo told WFSB. "But the school handled it well."