NJ man made antisemitic, racist phone threats across U.S.
Union City, NJ – A Hudson County man has been arrested and brought back to New Jersey after being accused of phoning in antisemitic and racist threats while roaming the country.
Steve Ortiz, a 44-year-old Union City resident, has been charged with bias intimidation, terroristic threats, false public alarm and stalking, according to Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo.
Between December and February, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit investigated a pattern of phone calls placed to government officials and a private business in Edgewater by an unknown caller who threatened violence, Calo said.
The calls often referenced people of Jewish and African-American descent, Calo said.
Investigators were able to trace Ortiz, despite his use of technology to hide his calling line identity, while also linking him to similar calls placed to River Edge and West New York, as well as out-of-state targets in North Carolina, New Mexico and New York.
Police said Ortiz had made two dozen calls over that time span while driving across the United States. The investigation involved several local police departments, as well as the FBI and U.S. Marshals in Montana.
An arrest warrant was issued for Ortiz on Feb. 22. He was found on Long Island by Nassau County Police a week later and taken into custody in Hicksville.
Ortiz was extradited to Bergen County Jail on Tuesday and is being held pending a detention hearing.