A New York man was arrested last week for making threatening phone calls to Arizona schools that were motivated by online gaming on an Xbox, authorities say. Details of the calls sound similar to ones made to Alaska schools, though the FBI says the arrest hasn’t been connected.
The FBI arrested 29-year-old Viktor Lisnyak of New York on July 15 for making several menacing calls to schools in Flagstaff, Arizona.
“At this point, I do not have the information that it is related to the cases in Alaska,” says Staci Feger-Pellessier, spokeswoman for the FBI in Anchorage.
At least eight threatening phone calls in April and May disrupted Juneau schools. Similar phone calls were made to schools all over the state including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Soldotna, Kenai and Hoonah.
The phone threats to Juneau schools alluded to school shootings and the caller had a computer-generated or robotic sounding voice. Investigators reported similar details in the Flagstaff calls.
Lisnyak told Flagstaff detectives he made threatening phone calls to schools in the United States, so many “he doesn’t remember all the specific calls,” according to the charging document. It says the calls “were in response to on-line video gaming. He would gain ‘points’ for making these calls and at times had to make these calls if he ‘lost’ a game.”
Lisnyak is suspected of making calls between March and May. He could face 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.
FBI spokeswoman Feger-Pellessier says the Alaska calls are still under investigation.