What to Know
A New Jersey man is facing charges in connection with a string of cross-country phone calls threatening violence
Steve Ortiz, 43, is charged with bias intimidation, terroristic threats, false public alarm and stalking, prosecutors say
Prosecutors say that during a number of these calls, Ortiz allegedly referenced people of Jewish and African-American descent
A New Jersey man is facing charges in connection with a string of cross-country phone calls threatening violence, prosecutors say.
Steve Ortiz, 43, who authorities list as living in Union City, is charged with bias intimidation, terroristic threats, false public alarm and stalking, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday. Ortiz was arrested last month in Hicksville, New York, but extradited to Bergen County Tuesday.
According to prosecutors, between December 2018 and February 2019, members of 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.
Prosecutors say that during a number of these calls, the unknown caller referenced people of Jewish and African-American descent.
The investigation eventually determined that Ortiz used technology to make his calling line identity anonymous and placed the calls, as well as other similar calls, to jurisdictions including River Edge and West New York, prosecutors say. They add that telephone calls were also allegedly placed to jurisdictions out-of-state in the past, including North Carolina.
Recent telephone calls to New Mexico and New York were also traced to Ortiz by the Cyber Crimes Unit, according to prosecutors.
Ortiz was transient, prosecutors say, and was allegedly traveling across the United States by car while making about 25 such calls to victims in and around Bergen County during and between December 2018 through February 2019.
Attorney information for Ortiz was not immediately available.