A Westchester man who allegedly threatened to blow up the White House and was apprehended after a standoff of several hours with law enforcement officers Thursday, August 13th has been charged with making a false bomb threat and attempted criminal threats.
Joseph Moshe, 56, pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment at the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Courthouse Monday, August 17th, a court spokeswoman said. He is being held on $70,000 bail.
Moshe allegedly called 9-1-1 Wednesday, August 12th threatening to blow up The White House, police said. He is also accused of threatening a Los Angeles Police Department communications employee after she refused to give him her name, county district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
After receiving the call, the Los Angeles Police Department Communications Division immediately notified the U.S. Secret Service.
Ed Donovan, Secret Service spokesman, said agents went to interview Moshe, who had two misdemeanor warrants for his arrest, at his Westchester home. After seeing Moshe driving his red Volkswagen Beetle in the neighborhood, the Secret Service agents requested LAPD Pacific officers to conduct a traffic stop to assist with taking him into custody.
The officers and agents tried to stop Moshe while he was driving but he allegedly refused to stop and continued to drive, police said. A vehicle pursuit then ensued for about 20 minutes northbound on the San Diego Freeway to a parking lot outside the Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood.
The suspect did not attempt to run from officers after police blocked in his vehicle. LAPD Metropolitan Division officers were then called to the scene and attempted to communicate with the suspect.
Despite repeated attempts by crisis negotiators, Moshe allegedly refused to talk with officers, leave his vehicle and surrender peacefully for several hours, police said.
An LAPD SWAT team then used tear gas at about 5:30 p.m. to force the suspect out of his car but after numerous attempts, the chemical agent appeared to have no effect on him, police said. Moshe was finally taken into custody without incident after SWAT officers used a Taser device to incapacitate him, police said.
The suspect suffered minor abrasions and was transported to a local hospital for observation and treatment.
The Secret Service is investigating the potential motive for the alleged threat against The White House, Donovan said.
Moshe is scheduled to appear at the Airport Courthouse for a preliminary hearing Monday, September 14th.