The police department of the region of West Uusimaa (near Helsinki) informed today that the 20-year-old man who was arrested for being suspected for threatening with a massive shooting in a shopping center in Espoo has admitted the facts.
According to a release published in the Police's website, during the weekend's interrogation the man admitted to be the author of possible offences of an illegal threat and a false warning of danger.
The threat against the shopping center Iso Omena was published on May Day's Eve in the opaque network Tor and on Wednesday 1 May it was spread in social media, which increased alarm and fear among the customers and the staff working in the mall's shops and other businesses. The suspected author was arrested the next day 2 May.
According to the investigators, the result of the interrogations shows that, as a motive for writing the threat, the man told the anger that he felt after losing a big sum of money in the online gambling. In addition, he admitted that he had added another person's name to the comments he had published, even though that person had no contact with him, said Teemu Värtinen, Chief Investigator.
Länsi-Uudenmaan poliisi otti 2.5. kiinni miehen, jonka epäiltiin kirjoittaneen kauppakeskus Ison Omenaan kohdistetun uhkaustekstin. Viikonlopun kuulusteluissa mies myönsi teon. #lupoliisi #Espoo https://t.co/8jbYbp6xkw— Poliisi LänsiUusimaa (@LUpoliisi) May 6, 2019
The police says that an offence of illegal threat can be followed by a two-year imprisonment. In addition, the author may have to pay significant compensations to the public authorities and also to the shopping mall and the shops, for the possible damages on their sales, according to legal sources consulted.
Another case in Oulu
The Finnish police reminds that threats like this on Iso Omena and the one made during last weekend also in Tor against another mall in Oulu "are always serious situations, and as such, the police also take them". "We started cooperation with the city and shopping center security organizations as soon as the threat arose, and this cooperation went well", Värtinen said.
About the case in Oulu (a threat against the Valkea shopping center), the police investigates it also as an alleged "illegal threat". In order to limit the damages, during the weekend the police were more visible than usual in the shopping center. "Sunday went according to the normal weekend", said the police in a press release.
"We did and are constantly working to find out the suspect in co-operation with the Central Criminal Police. We will investigate the matter and possible links with other similar threats", commented on the case the investigating director, Criminal Commissioner Tero Luukkonen.
Hundreds of contacts from citizens
In relation to the threat in Iso Omena (Espoo), the police thanked the citizens for the hundreds of contacts received through various channels. "It is great to note that the threshold for citizens to contact an authority in such a case is low. For the future, police departments have shared tips on how the police can best assist in their work", said the Chief Investigator Värtinen.
For example, in the instructions published on the Facebook page of the West Uusimaa Police Department, the police recommends that an immediate threat must be reported to the emergency number 112, but alternatively the information may be transmitted also via the internet. The police do not recommend sharing the suspicious publication.
The police also point out that it will immediately inform if a particular area is to be avoided. "If you notice that the police have commented on the matter in news media or social media, you can be confident that the matter is in the care", says the press release.