Danielle Shea, 22, is accused of phoning in bomb threats so graduation would be cancelled because she didn't want to admit to relatives she'd dropped out of school. (Published Tuesday, May 20, 2014)
A former Quinnipiac University student accused of making bomb threats at graduation to keep her family from learning she'd dropped out appeared in court on Monday and the case was continued.
Police said Danielle Shea, 22, of Quincy, Massachusetts, dropped out of school but still collected thousands of dollars in tuition money from her mother. She was arrested in her cap and gown after allegedly calling in a pair of bomb threats before a graduation ceremony.
Shea confessed to them that she called in the two bomb threats to Quinnipiac University to try to cancel the graduation ceremony at the College of Arts and Sciences, according to police.
When she was arraigned in May, the judge said she made a "big mistake." On Monday, she appeared in Meriden Superior Court with her attorney and her mother. No one commented outside court.
Shea had paid for a cap and gown for the ceremony, but panicked when her relatives did not see her name on the graduation roster, according to a news release from police.
Police said that Shea called Quinnipiac University Public Safety at 5:38 p.m. and said that there was a “bomb in the library”
Then, she called again 17 minutes later from a blocked telephone saying, “Several bombs are on campus. You haven't cleared out graduation. That is not a good idea," according to the incident report.
Hamden police and public safety searched the library and found nothing. After the second threat was called in, Quinnipiac’s administrative staff made the decision to relocate the graduation ceremony to the TD Bank Sports Arena at the school’s York Hill Campus. The ceremony was delayed for about an hour and a half.
Hamden Police and Quinnipiac University Public Safety were able to identify the telephone number from which the call originated.
University records indicated that the telephone number was Shea’s, police said. Shortly thereafter, Hamden Police found her inside of the TD Bank Sports Complex. She was dressed in a cap and gown. After further investigation, Shea was arrested and transported to Hamden Police Headquarters.
Hamden Police detectives obtained a detailed confession from Shea and learned that she did not attend Quinnipiac University this year, police said.
She told police that she did not place a bomb, did not have a weapon and had no intention of harming anyone, but was embarrassed that she was not graduating, according to the incident report.
Police said in a news release that Shea’s mother paid her thousands of dollars this year, money she thought was for her daughter’s education.
According to the incident report, Shea told police she was a Quinnipiac student at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, but had trouble registering for classes because of a delinquent balance.
She said did not notify her mother and tried to rectify the situation, but was not able to and could not register for classes in the spring of 2014, according to police.
But Quinnipiac said Shea hadn't been in school since May of last year and she only has enough credits to be a sophomore.
Shea, who has no criminal history, was charged with first-degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident.
She was detained at police headquarters on a $20,000 bond. When she appeared in court in Meriden last month, the public defender and prosecutor agreed on a promise to appear, but the judge set bond at $10,000.
Family members posted bond but Shea offered no comment as she and her mother left the courthouse. The case has been continued until August 13.
Published at 6:49 PM EDT on May 18, 2014