Wareham teen charged with terroristic threats connected to multiple school bomb threats, ‘swatting’ incidents, police say
At first, he brought down an entire school’s Internet access for a few hours in March 2017, police say. Then three school bomb threats and four “swatting” incidents allegedly followed over the next year and a half.
According to court documents, Domenic Albanese, 18, of 39 Onset Ave., most recently threatened gun violence at three fast food restaurants.
“He did it just for fun,” said one witness.
Police arrested the Wareham resident on Oct. 10 and charged him with making terroristic threats in connection to calls made on July 29 to Burger King and Oct. 5 to Wendy’s and McDonald’s, all in Wareham. A dangerousness hearing is scheduled for Monday in Wareham District Court. There a judge will determine if Albanese is allowed to make bail. Albanese pleaded “not guilty” Wednesday in Wareham District Court.
According to court documents, Albanese has a history of making threats using his technical know-how to mask the origin of calls and emails.
The fake threats, bomb scares and hacking incidents started less than a year after Albanese’s own home was raided by a S.W.A.T. team. During the incident, police confiscated loaded weapons and arrested his mother, Lori, 57, also of 39 Onset Ave.
The most high profile case he’s allegedly connected to happened July 10, 2017. On that day, Albanese sent an anonymous email to school officials, police say.
(See photographs from the Wareham school shooting threat in the gallery at right.)
“I have no cell service. I am hiding in one of the main storage rooms inside the school,” it read. “I will come out at a random time today and I will shoot and kill on sight. I am tired of life. I am tired of everything.”
In response, all Wareham schools were put on lock down as hundreds of police officers from multiple law enforcement agencies surrounded the Wareham Middle and High School. Students were evacuated to the Gleason Family YMCA where tearful families were reunited. The threat was deemed a hoax later that day.
A second threat to Wareham schools followed on Dec. 11. Court documents state school officials received another anonymous email.
“This will be my final letter. I am hiding inside of your school with an explosive device that will detonate towards the end of the day,” it read. “I has a couple of explosive devices on 2 busses. Start searching.”
A student evacuation followed and police searched buses for the next two hours. They determined the email was a hoax.
Albanese is also alleged to have called in a bomb threat to Bourne Middle School on Oct. 3, 2018. The school was put on lockdown as a result. Later on Oct. 3, court documents say two girls who knew Albanese told police that they spoke with him on Sept. 30. He asked them to have sex and after they said “no,” Albanese threatened to call in a fake threat to the school.
Albanese has been in court before. In December 2017, he was indicted by a Plymouth County grand jury on a charge of rape of a child, use of force.
Documents allege Albanese has been involved with several “swatting” incidents as well. Swatting refers to false reports of violent crimes in progress, prompting a major show of force from police on innocent, unsuspecting people. Some cases of swatting have been fatal.
Court documents state Albanese made four reported swatting calls over four months. Albanese’s swatting calls began less than a year after his own home was raided by a S.W.A.T. team. In November 2016, Albanese’s mother was arrested after S.W.A.T. officers confiscated a loaded .30-caliber, 9-inch handgun and a loaded 9 mm handgun, along with two stun guns. Both handguns were high-capacity weapons, police said, able to be loaded with 10 or more rounds of ammunition.
She was charged with illegally possessing firearms, improperly storing a large capacity weapon near a minor and reckless endangerment of a child. Police obtained the search warrant after visiting the home on Nov. 7 in response to troubling posts made on social media by a teenager living in the house. Police returned on Nov. 10 with the warrant and S.W.A.T. officers.
Albanese’s first swatting call occurred on Sept. 6, 2017. Police said he reported gun shots at a Main Street apartment building. Police dispatch received a call saying, “My dad just shot my sister.” Police said the caller gave a fake phone number and fake number during the incident.
After investigating the incident, police spoke with a victim.
“She and Domenic had been texting back and forth about Domenic not being faithful,” according to court documents. “During the text conversation Domenic texted, “ENJOY A Swat team. Blocked. Don’t [expletive] message me againgood luck.”
The three other swatting incidents occurred on Dec. 2, 2017, Dec. 14, 2017 and Dec. 17, 2017. In all the incidents Albanese allegedly called in reports that men with guns threatened violence.
Police first became aware of Albanese in March 2017. While a student at Pilgrim Academy in Plymouth he was accused of hacking into the school’s computer system. That same month, school officials said they believed Albanese shut down the school’s Internet for a few hours while he was absent one day.
Police said an administrator spoke with Albanese the next day about the incident. Court documents state he became “unsettled” while being questioned.
He denied the hacking before saying, “I think you should definitely look into it even though it is not traceable.”