Tulsa Man Arrested For Calling In A Bomb Threat

Thursday, July 16th 2009, 11:26 am
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Police make an arrest in a bomb threat at a Tulsa Jewish retirement center.  The threat happened on Tuesday afternoon.       Police traced the cell phone number from where the bomb threat was made to 22-year-old Christopher Stefanalli.  He was brought in for questioning and confessed.

7/15/2009 Related story: Terrorism Task Force Investigates Tulsa Bomb Scare 

"It's a dangerous situation. I mean, any time you have a situation like this.  There's elderly people involved.  There's a day camp going on. You're talking hundreds of people on the facility grounds," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

A chilling phone call on Tuesday afternoon consisted of seven words that set off a chain of events.  The caller said, "there is a bomb in the building."

Officers rushed to the Tulsa Jewish Retirement Center and didn't find anything. But, a little over an hour later, an employee heard ticking underneath some paper inside a commercial trash can.  The ticking turned out to be an alarm clock. Police say the bomb threat and the ticking device were not connected.

"It was just a coincidence. Somebody threw the clock away and it just happened to be at the wrong time and that's obviously what amped this up a little bit," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

An investigation amped up by the bomb threat which police say they quickly traced back to a cell phone and the caller, they say was 22-year-old Christopher Stefanalli.

"Actually conducted an interview with him where he confessed," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

Police also say the bomb threat was not a hate crime directed at the Jewish community. But, a domestic dispute with the suspect's partner.

"Our suspect is in a relationship with an employee of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.  "They were in an argument and he decided he was going to make the telephone bomb threat."

A decision and a phone call that police say was made hastily.

"The fact that he was probably upset. It was probably a knee jerk reaction," said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham.

A reaction that could land Stefanalli in state prison.

Stefanalli was booked into jail on a complaint of making a threat by phone.  He is held on $50,000 bond.