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Ex-UCSB Engineer Arrested in Alleged Bomb Threat Against School

Former Santa Barbara resident facing charges in Washington after Craigslist posting that appears to target UCSB

Update: Click here to read about Baker's arrest on Aug. 19 2013

A former Santa Barbara man has been arrested in Washington for allegedly making a bomb threat against UCSB, his former employer.

Neil Baker
Neil Baker

Neil P. Baker, 51, of Kennewick, Wash., is being held in Benton County jail but formal charges have not been filed, the Mid-Columbia Tri-City Herald reported Thursday. The newspaper said Baker was arrested Monday on suspicion of making a bomb threat with intent to alarm and a misdemeanor harassment charge.

The Herald said Baker had moved to Kennewick in 2004 after UCSB forced him to resign or be fired. UCSB officials could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

UCSB police issued an alert to the campus last week after a Craigslist posting was discovered titled “Does it seem like UCSB is trying to incite Neil to shoot?”

The police alert stated Baker is a person of interest because of “recent nonspecific threats that may pertain to current UCSB employees.” Click here to view the alert.

The Feb. 12 Internet post consists of a list of statements and questions, which include: “If Neil were to launch an attack on UCSB, could the body-count exceed 10,000?”

The posting includes mock-ups of fake ads with pictures of killers in notorious school shootings. The photos have captions like “Remember that kid you bullied in school? It’s too late to say you’re sorry” and “Remember that coworker you mobbed at UCSB? It’s not too late to say you’re sorry.”

Washington police are continuing to investigate and are talking to the FBI about the possibility of placing Baker on the domestic terrorist list, the Herald reported.

A former engineer at UCSB and a 2003 candidate for governor in California’s recall election, Baker has been the subject of inquiry for years and is believed to be the author of numerous threatening online postings.

In 2007, UCSB officials locked down the Engineering Science Building East for about a week after threats were posted on Craigslist around the one-year anniversary of the Goleta postal service facility shooting. The UCSB Daily Nexus reported that Baker had talked about how he was thinking about killing his former bosses and co-workers at the time time of the USPS massacre.

On Jan. 30, 2006, Jennifer San Marco, 44, a former local postal service employee then living in New Mexico, shot and killed her former neighbor in Santa Barbara and five former co-workers at the Santa Barbara Processing and Distribution Center, 400 Storke Road. San Marco then killed herself.

Baker’s arrest came three days after Amy Bishop, an associate neurobiology professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, allegedly shot and killed three colleagues during a meeting on that campus.

At various times, someone posting as Neil Baker was a prolific commenter on Noozhawk articles, often using them to attack UCSB, which he called a “criminal mafia organization where I endured four years of near-constant hostility.” Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen said the commenter was warned repeatedly to keep his comments focused on the stories but he persisted in making “off-topic, conspiratorial accusations involving UCSB, Jews, Israel and a government cover-up of 9/11.”

“We removed most of his comments and ultimately banned him when he continued to violate our terms of use,” Macfadyen said.

Baker responded by e-mailing Macfadyen and accusing him of being “a Zionist” who was censoring “my brave truth.” The commenter frequently used Craigslist’s Rants & Raves feature to attack Noozhawk’s alleged censorship.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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