Danielle Shea was scheduled to face a judge on Monday. (Hamden police photo)
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -
A Massachusetts woman accused of calling in bomb threats in an attempt to cancel a college graduation faced a judge on Monday.
Police said Danielle Shea, 22, of Quincy, MA, was arrested on Sunday for calling in the threats before the Quinnipiac University graduation in Hamden.
"Our roommate came home and decided not to walk because he was afraid there may actually be a bomb," said QU student Elena Ditullio.
Police said when they found Shea in the TD Bank Sportscenter, she was dressed in a cap and gown. She had been hoping the threats would cancel the ceremony.
When her family showed up for the graduation and did not see her name in the program, police said that's when Shea panicked and phoned in the threats.
At first, Shea told police at about 5:45 p.m. that there was a bomb in the library. Fifteen minutes later, she allegedly called again.
"Several bombs are on campus, why haven't you canceled graduation yet?" Shea asked police during the second call.
While Hamden police were checking the library area, Quinnipiac made the decision to move about 5,000 people and the evening commencement to the back-up rain location.
"We were all a little on edge and it was hectic," said Ashley Srgo, a graduate. "But the school handled it well."
Police said because Shea, whom they called a former student, used her own cell phone, they were able to track her down quickly and find her on campus wearing a cap and gown.
"This person made very irresponsible decisions and a great disruption to those who deserve this ceremony without it," said Chief Thomas Wydra of the Hamden Police Department.
The proceedings were delayed for an hour and a half because of the phoned-in threats.
Shea, who was a 2012 Dean's List student, was in line with other graduates but was never going to graduate, according to police.
She admitted to them that while her mother paid her thousands of dollars this year for her education, she had not attended the school since last May. Shea told police she couldn't enroll this year because her tuition bill was delinquent.
It's unclear what Shea has been doing for the past month at Quinnipiac. University officials said she definitely wasn't living on campus. Some of the other students said Shea was hanging with friends.
Shea, who has no criminal record, was charged with first-degree threatening and falsely reporting an incident. Shea, who was the same dress from her graduation, was arraigned late Monday morning in Meriden Superior Court.
In court, the judge said the two called-in threats were "troubling."
"This was a big mistake," the judge said. "This inconvenienced a lot of people for some very selfish, minimal reasons."
Shea's mother was at her daughter's court appearance. She said she had "no comment" as she walked out of court with her daughter.
"It's our right for the defendant," the mother stated.
Shea's uncle paid her bond that was set at $10,000. He did not want to comment either.
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