On Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023, William Giordani, 54, was taken into federal custody for his alleged role in a phoned-in bomb threat last month to Harvard University. Giordani is facing a conspiracy charge in addition to a count of aiding and abetting extortionate threats in connection with an alleged series of bomb threats that were made to the University on April 13.
Giordani claims he was only answering a Craigslist ad, in which somebody was trying to arrange a package delivery to his son at Harvard. He answered the ad from a man allegedly named Nguyen Mihn, with a New Jersey phone number, offering $300 to somebody who could buy and deliver “some item” to his eldest son at Harvard.
The ad began “I pay for a small side job. Will need items purchased and moved”, followed with “I am single father of 3 and my eldest son gos to Harvard. He need some supplys delivered to him before Monday and I dont have time to bring to him. I need you to buy some item for him and deliver, I am very busy I cant and my son need to stay study. Will pay very well, i will also pay back for cost of items. We are Vietnamese family, sorry for poor English” [sic].
In following these requests, Giordani bought fireworks in New Hampshire, and a tool bag, a safe and wires at Home Depot, all of which were to be delivered to Harvard. Authorities later found these items left on a bench, only after evacuating nearby buildings and issuing a campus-wide alert.
In the early afternoon of April 13th, Harvard University police received several phone threats regarding bombs and demand for payment, all made by a mechanical voice. The caller continued to remind Harvard to be prepared to pay a large sum of bitcoin. They then state:
“This is not a joke, a prank, or a drill. There are real lives at stake today. Earlier today our team planted three remotely detonated improvised explosive devices in populated areas across the Harvard campus. While we do not want to detonate these devices, we will not hesitate to do so if you fail to meet our demands. These devices each have an explosive yield of at least 80 megajoules and contain several pounds of metal shrapnel. If these bombs were detonated now, we estimate that at least 40 students would die, and hundreds be badly wounded.”
The caller then proceeded to give a location and description of one of the homemade devices. After finding the device, officers reviewed surveillance footage of the area and saw Giordani placing the items at the bench. Cambridge Police Department’s bomb disposal unit assisted with diffusing the device with a robot.
Giordani said he spoke to the person who made the Craigslist ad and was aware that they would be making bomb threats to demand money from the University. Giordani then traveled to Worcester to get paid, but when he arrived, the person told him that he couldn’t meet. The individual added that he wasn’t Asian and didn’t have kids, both as claimed in the ad. They also went on racist rants about blacks and Jews, according to the transcription of the phone call on the affidavit.
Investigators had enough evidence to link Giordani to the case. He was reluctant to meet with the FBI as he was afraid that he would be arrested for transporting fireworks across state lines. Giordani had asked his mother to pick him up at a location in Nashua, and investigators drove with her to meet with him and discuss the events. He declined access to his phone or refused to discuss the incident in detail but admitted that he knew what he did was wrong.
This is an active and ongoing investigation as to finding the individual who was in on the threatening calls and conspiracy. As of now, it is unclear if Giordani has obtained an attorney who could speak to the allegations he is facing. He is expected to be back in US District Court for a detention hearing on Friday.