Beach Bear Scam Artist Threatens Orlando-Style Massacre [UPDATED]
Earlier this year we reported on Craig Jungwirth – a man who took over the Beach Bear Weekend event in Florida and used it to solicit and scam money from unsuspecting members of the LGBTQ community. What began as a story of his harassment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence exploded after information surfaced that not only were the events listed for his Beach Bear Weekend event fake but also all hotel bookings through the event website didn’t actually reserve local hotels (as they’d never spoken to Jungwirth or any event organizers).
Following those two stories (here and here) Craig Jungwirth embarked on a harassment campaign against both this publication as well as the individual writers associated with it. He sent harassing text messages. He left vaguely threatening voice mails. He bombarded our social media and comments sections with spam and threats. He even attempted to hack our server several times to access the articles written about him.
That disconcerting level of animus escalated over the past week as Jungwirth is now making claims he will recreate the Pulse Orlando massacre during Labor Day weekend. In a message posted to Facebook user David Herbert’s page, Jungwirth stated:
My events are selling out cause you faggots are total patsies. None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.
After Herbert said he was contacting the police, Jungwirth added:
You can’t never catch a genius from MIT and since you faggots aren’t dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers. [SNIP]
I’m gonna be killing you fags faster than the cops kill niggers. It’s time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.
A loosely-organized group of individuals has been working to report Jungwirth to local and federal authorities though no one has returned anyone’s calls yet – even local law enforcement offices in and around the Ft. Lauderdale area where the threats are being made. We’ve reached out to law enforcement as well as local government officials and will update this article should they provide a statement.
Jungwirth’s escalation from internet troll and scam artist to person making threats of domestic terrorism doesn’t come as a large surprise given his obsessive stalking history as well as his criminal record including multiple restraining orders. We spoke with several people in and outside of Wilton Manors (just outside of Ft. Lauderdale) and the story is consistently the same.
Jungwirth relentlessly harasses anyone who criticizes him or attempts to expose his illegal dealings. He creates fake profiles posing as real people (like Brian Hamilton, who I know personally) in order to steal others’ identities and access their friends’ and family’s personal information.
According to local sources, the last time Jungwirth’s behavior escalated he vandalized a bar in Wilton Manors after driving by screaming obscenities.
If you live or will be vacationing in Southern Florida during Labor Day, please be careful as Jungwirth’s threats cannot be written off as unrealistic based on his previous behavior.
*This story will be updated as new information arises*
UPDATE [August 30, 2016 @ 2pm ET]
Wilton Manors Chief of Police Paul O’Connell responded to our request for comment stating:
Our Agency is aware of this information and we are conducting an investigation into this matter. Due to this being an on-going investigation our agency is prohibited from discussing this issue any further at this time.
UPDATE [August 30, 2016 @ 2:30pm ET]
A local source in Wilton Manors just informed us that after speaking with the Wilton Manors Police Department, he learned local law enforcement are working with the FBI on the investigation. Moreover, Jungwirth is being actively sought out by law enforcement for questioning in relation to his online statements and ongoing harassment as they have begun taking his threats seriously.
UPDATE [August 30, 2016 @ 11:00pm ET]
NBC 6 in Miami will be covering this story with more in depth interviews with locals affected by Jungwirth this evening. According to NBC 6 reporter Jamie Guirola, “TONIGHT @ 11: “If you losers thought Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait…” Police investigating Labor Day threat against LGBT community, bars beefing up security in South Florida. Watch my story on NBC 6.”
Additionally, Jennifer Bickhardt, Public Information Officer for the Wilton Manors Police Department released a statement today saying:
The Wilton Manors Police Department (WMPD) takes all matters seriously especially when someone threatens the lives of the Wilton Manors Community to include our residents, business owners/employees, visitors, and the surrounding communities. The Wilton Manors Police Department is aware of this serious matter and our department is currently conducting an on-going investigation on this matter and the individual(s) involved. Due to the on-going investigation we are unable to provide any details about the investigation and what current information our department has learned about this matter and the individual(s) involved at this time.
Please know that our Police Officers and Detectives are thoroughly investigating this serious matter and we ask the community to continue to contact local law enforcement officials should they hear or see any other additional posts on Social Media/new threats made by these individual(s) or anyone else.
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 12:00am ET]
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 10:30am ET]
City of Wilton Manors Commissioner Julie A. Carson sent us a statement this morning on the statements made by Jungwirth saying:
We are absolutely looking into the threat. I received the information yesterday from various sources and immediately advised the WMPD and Sheriff Scott Israel.
Our City stakeholders and the Wilton Manors Police Department will take all action necessary to protect our City and community. The culture in which we live no longer permits threats of mass murder without serious legal consequence. Mr. Jungwirth must be held accountable for his intended violence against a targeted group, and his vile comments and mental instability are indicators of impending disaster in the absence of quick and decisive action by law enforcement.
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 4:30pm ET]
We’re receiving unconfirmed reports that Jungwirth was taken into custody in the Orlando, Florida area. City of Ft. Lauderdale Vice Mayor / Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis posted to his Facebook moments ago:
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 5:00pm ET]
Wilton Manors Chief of Police Paul O’Connell responded to Trantalis’ Facebook posting moments ago stating via email, “The Facebook posting is absolutely FALSE! I can assure you that when we have credible, non-sensitive information we will share it with the entire community.”
Stay tuned folks, details are still emerging.
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 5:30pm ET]
According to local sources, Trantalis’ Facebook posting was based on misinformation from the Ft. Lauderdale police department. He has deleted the post from his Facebook page to retract the announcement.
UPDATE [August 31, 2016 @ 9pm ET]
@djcoreycraig we have not made an arrest
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) August 31, 2016
UPDATE [September 1, 2016 @ 9:30am ET]
We’ve confirmed Jungwirth has been contacted by both local law enforcement and the FBI and is being closely monitored as they evaluate the situation. In a comment to press yesterday evening Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell said, “We have to put pieces of the puzzle together to establish probable cause that he’s committed a crime.”
In the meantime local LGBTQ bars around the Wilton Manors area will be beefing up security for the holiday weekend. Wilton Manors PD will be assisting with additional presence as well.
“We’re gonna have extra patrols, high visibility throughout the holiday weekend and we know Fort Lauderdale Police and the Broward Sheriff’s Office are going to work with us on that,” O’Connell said.
Police are asking that anyone who has been harassed, scammed or threatened by Jungwirth contact them immediately as they build a case.
UPDATE [September 2, 2016 @ 5:45pm ET]
We’ve published a supplement to this article offering a detailed look into Craig Jungwirth’s past. Click through to read.
[The title of this article was modified to more accurately portray the intended location of the potential terrorist event.]