Zoom bombers still at large

After a six-month investigation, still no arrests in racist Zoom bombing attack

Published by Joe Wells, Date: September 8, 2021
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Slippery Rock University Police’s (SRUPD) investigation into two racist Zoom bombing attacks in February has reached a dead-end out-of-state with no arrest.

SRUPD executed at least six search warrants related to the case in an attempt to trace spoofed IP addresses back to the attackers, according to Kevin Sharkey, police chief of SRUPD.

Those warrants led to home addresses in Kentucky but interviews with the residents there yielded little results leading investigators to believe those IP addresses were spoofed as well, Sharkey said.

While no suspects were identified during the investigation, university police discovered some IP addresses matched another Zoom bombing that took place during a Yale University event around the same time. Those attacks took place on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, according to a press release by the university. SRUPD did not say which events had matching IP addresses and whether the same addresses were found in both of SRU’s Zoom bombings.

With no new information about the case, SRUPD considers the case inactive until there are new developments, according to Robert King, chief communication and public affairs officer for SRU.

SRUPD worked with Pennsylvania State Police’s (PSP) Computer Crimes Division out of Meadville, PA, who assisted with the analysis of the data from the school and search warrants. While the PSP assisted with SRUPD’s investigation, no independent investigation was conducted by the PSP, according to Tpr. Cynthia Schick, PSP Troop E’s public information officer.

Sharkey said the information from their investigation was handed over to the FBI through their Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

According to its website, IC3 allows anyone to submit a complaint of a possible crime committed online to the FBI. Last year, more than 790,000 complaints were submitted through the system and the FBI expects more than 1 million to be filed in 2021, FBI Pittsburgh Public Affairs Officer Catherine Policicchio said in an email.

In 2020, Pennsylvania ranked sixth in the nation, with more than 18,000 victims filing reports, according to the IC3 2020 Annual Report.

Policicchio said it is FBI policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. She added once a complaint is filed through IC3, it is reviewed by an analyst and forwarded to the appropriate “federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies with jurisdiction.”

Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.

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Joe Wells
Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.

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