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07/25/2007

News / SIUE student accused of terrorist threat attempt

EDWARDSVILLE — A cryptic note threatening a "murderous rampage" found in an SIUE freshman's car prompted authorities to arrest the student and charge him Tuesday with attempting to make a terrorist threat.

According to court documents, Olutosin Oduwole wrote a note demanding payment to a PayPal account and saying "if this account doesn't reach $50,000 in the next 7 days then a murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting will occur at another highly populated university. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!"

The note appeared to refer to the shootings in April at Virginia Tech. A student at that school, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and injured 25 others before killing himself.

Authorities found the note Friday in the back seat of Oduwole's car, which had been abandoned on campus, said Southern Illinois University Edwardsville spokesman Greg Conroy. Oduwole was arrested that day.
Police also allegedly found a loaded gun in Oduwole's apartment-style dorm on campus. That discovery led prosecutors on Tuesday to also file a misdemeanor charge of illegally possessing a weapon in a public building.

Authorities allege in an affidavit filed Tuesday that he had recently bought three .38-caliber semiautomatic guns on the Internet but had not yet received them, and he also had ordered a .45-caliber semiautomatic gun similar to an Uzi.

A gun dealer alerted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because Oduwole "appeared very anxious to get these firearms and seemed very impatient," according to the affidavit. The document also says SIUE police had received a report in May 2006 that Oduwole was wearing a bulletproof vest on campus.

Oduwole remained jailed Tuesday on $1 million bail.

Oduwole did not deliver the threat in the note to anyone, and campus police are continuing to work with federal authorities to look into the matter, SIUE police Chief Regina Hays said in a prepared statement.

Oduwole attended SIUE last year and was placed on academic probation. He was taking summer courses this year and had not declared a major, Conroy said. Today is Oduwole's 22nd birthday.

Police found the gun, a .25-caliber Jennings model, in his Cougar Village apartment, according to a search warrant. They seized a picture of Oduwole flashing gang signs, several notebooks, a camcorder and U.S. and Nigerian passports. Court documents did not list the name on those passports.

Conroy said Oduwole's permanent address was in Maplewood, N.J., according to university records. He said that if Oduwole was in the United States on a visa, he would have been required to go through the university's international student department, something he did not do. Oduwole's relatives could not be reached Tuesday.

If convicted of attempting to make a terrorist threat, he faces a prison term of four to 15 years.

It's the second batch of Madison County charges to be filed against Oduwole in less than a week.

He was charged Thursday with felony counts of theft and computer fraud for allegedly selling a gun that he did not own to a man in Kirksville, Mo. The man, identified as David Van Wyck, sent Oduwole a check for $1,000 for a Colt M-16 assault rifle that Oduwole had advertised for sale on the Internet, court documents say.

Van Wyck mailed the check to an apartment in Wood River, where Oduwole allegedly signed a postal receipt for the check as Jeff Robinson.

That check was deposited into Oduwole's account at the SIUE Credit Union on July 2, documents say, but Van Wyck never received a gun.

lthorsen@post-dispatch.com | 618-624-2409
By Leah Thorsen
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/5E0E56B3F670D0CC86257323000AE3A4?OpenDocument

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