The 22-year-old man who allegedly planted a fake bomb inside a car at the Queens Place Mall in Elmhurst earlier this week was charged with making terroristic threats and additional felony charges on Wednesday, Jan. 6, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
In addition to the terroristic threats charge, Louis Shenker, of Amherst, Mass., faces charges of placing a fake bomb in an enclosed shopping mall, Katz said. Queens Criminal Court Judge Karen Gopee ordered Shenker to be held without bail on Wednesday. If convicted of the charges, Shenker faces up to seven years in prison.
The alleged bomb hoax caused an evacuation of Queens Place Mall on Monday, Jan. 4, and garnered response from the NYPD’s bomb squad, who eventually deemed the device a hoax.
Around 4:50 a.m., on Monday, an NYPD officer came across Shenker and an unapprehened person standing next to a black Tesla Model S with Nevada plates parked on the Queens Place Mall’s parking garage ramp, according to the charges.
Shenker allegedly told the officer that the car had stalled and they were attempting to recharge the electric vehicle, which had blankets, clothing, a dog, a Black Lives Matter sign and other various items inside, according to the DA.
Hours later, around 7:35 a.m., a Queens Place Mall employee saw the car, which by then had protruding wires connecting to a gas tank, the charges state.
After an investigation by the NYPD, the device was deemed a hoax, designed to appear to be a bomb.
Shenker turned himself into a Brooklyn precinct on Tuesday, Jan. 5, around 3 a.m., according to law enforcement officials.
Social media posts allegedly authored by Shenker, appear to express right-wing conspiracy sentiments, echoing the recent Christmas Day Nashville bombing, allegedly carried out by Anthony Warner, who is believed to have espoused similar sentiments.
An Instagram account believed to belong to Shenker uses the “StopTheSteal” hashtag in its bio, a hashtag championed by supporters of President Donald Trump – and the president, himself – who falsely believe Trump won the November presidential election.
Shenker has been ordered to return to court on Jan. 7.