BETHLEHEM, Pa. | Police allege a Bethlehem man sent threatening emails to a South Side church, including threats to bring a gun to mass.
Authorities charged Christopher M. Matos, of East Fourth Street, with single felony counts of terroristic threats and criminal use of a communication device in connection with the alleged threats made against Holy Infancy Church. District Judge Alan Mege arraigned the 19-year-old Friday night, releasing him from custody on $25,000 unsecured bail.
Bethlehem police responded to the church in the 300 block of East Fourth Street in May and July to investigate a report of suspicious emails. Authorities said the emails “directed hatred towards the church” and a specific victim, according to court records. The affidavit of probable cause does not name the victim, but court papers do note that threats were directed at a clergy member, according to records.
On Nov. 6, the victim contacted police about additional emails that had become “threatening in nature,” according to records.
Police said the sender of the emails wrote, “I assure you that before the 2019 is finished I will bring a gun to start a beautiful game” and “Let yourself be warned of the tragedy that could happen in the mid of mass at any moment,” according to records.
The emails also warned the victim to be “careful that it will be that you are attacked” and that the victim is “looking for me to send someone to give your (sic) a big beat down,” according to police.
Church officials told police that the church closed its office to members and guests on Friday because of the threats.
During an interview with police, Matos allegedly admitted creating the email address and sending the threatening messages in order to cause fear. Court records do not specify why Matos allegedly threatened the clergy member or Holy Infancy Church, which is a few blocks from his house.
His next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 27.