Student charged with two felonies after Towers bomb threat

UW-Eau Claire student charged with terrorist threats after Yik Yak bomb scare

Mason Waymire, a UW-Eau Claire student was charged with two felonies of terrorist threats and bomb scares in Eau Claire County Court on Monday.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the UW-Eau Claire Police Department,  Waymire, 19, posted on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media site, that stated, “There’s a bomb in Towers” on Sept. 29.

Towers North Hall Director Grace Becker reported the post to the UW-Eau Claire Police Department. Officers conducted a foot patrol of the common areas and around the buildings but “did not notice anything unusual at the time,” according to the criminal complaint.

On Sept. 30, UW-Eau Claire officers received a call from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that said the FBI had traced the Yik Yak account from which the post originated to Waymire.

UW-Eau Claire officers made contact with Waymire at his dorm residence and brought him to an interview room.

According to the criminal complaint, Waymire told officers he had been drinking alcoholic beverages with some friends in a Towers South dorm room on the night of the alleged threat and they had dared him to make a post about a bomb in Towers Hall.

Waymire told officers he created the post from his own Yik Yak account around midnight on the night of Sept. 29. 

Waymire told officers he was not thinking clearly due to alcohol consumption and he “had no thoughts about how serious the threat was.” He then stated “through his experiences, he knew how serious such threats are,” according to the criminal complaint.

Waymire is a chemistry student at UW-Eau Claire but told officers he “does not have any knowledge on how to construct a bomb.”

On Oct. 1 UW-Eau Claire officers made contact with one of the other students with Waymire on the night of the threat. That student said he did not dare or pressure Waymire to make such a threat and he did not hear others pressuring Waymire.

Becker sent an email to residents on Sept. 30 notifying them of the threat and of the action taken in response to the post.

“The police were contacted by our staff as soon as we became aware of the post and the police contacted the social media site to gain information about the poster which allowed them to identify that person quickly,” the email said. “The post was pulled down immediately by Yik Yak and the police were able to determine that the post was a hoax.”

Interim Dean of Students Greg Heinselman said law enforcement acted quickly to keep the campus safe.

“Due to the quick response of local law enforcement, including our UW-Eau Claire University Police, there was never any threat to our campus community,” Heinselman said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, which has serious consequences for the person involved, but our staff and students responded in a timely manner and did a great job keeping our campus community safe.”

UW-Eau Claire Police Chief Jay Dobson said despite the serious nature of the threats, students were never in danger.

“The threat was indeed just that, a threat, posted to social media. We were notified by the FBI, which was contacted by Yik Yak. Due to the swift actions of our law enforcement team working with the FBI, the student was taken into custody without incident. There was never any danger to our campus community.”

Waymire is due in court for an initial appearance in November. 

If convicted of terrorist threats, bomb scares or both, Waymire could be fined no more than $10,000 and face up to three years and six months for each felony.

This is a developing story. 

Mohr can be reached at [email protected].