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Man Taken into Custody over Violent Threats Made to Connecticut Synagogue Director

A Massachusetts man with prior threatening charges is accused of harassing and threatening a local synagogue’s education director.

Manuel E. Pintado, 60, was extradited to Connecticut on an arrest warrant for second-degree threatening and second-degree harassment April 11, stemming from a Southbury police investigation into a threatening audio message sent to B’nai Israel in March.

According to the warrant for his arrest, Pintado left the message for the synagogue’s education director, who he accused of spreading lies about what’s happening in Palestine and threatened to go to her home and “do the same thing that is happening in Palestine.”

B’nai Israel’s education director told police she had been interviewed about Israel and the current events happening overseas for a documentary, and said “her words might have been taken out of context (in a way that) may seem like she is anti-Palestine when she is not,” the warrant states.

Police said they traced the phone number used to send the message back to Pintado and called it. A man with a voice matching the one in the threatening audio answered, but “failed to identify himself and stated, ‘I don’t know why you are calling me,’” before hanging up, according to the warrant for Pintado’s arrest.

At the request of Southbury police, Massachusetts authorities attempted to make contact with Pintado at an address in Amherst on March 8, but were unable to get in touch with him. According to the warrant for Pintado’s arrest, a neighbor claimed to have not seen Pintado in weeks.

Later that day, the warrant says Southbury police contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in New Haven about the circumstances of the case, and were told that the information would be passed to the Domestic Terrorism Unit for further investigation.

On March 14, a Southbury police officer and two agents from the FBI office in Springfield, Mass., attempted to make contact with Pintado at an address listed for him in the Massachusetts town of Sunderland.

The officers observed “GAZA WILL BE FREE” and “NRA = Profits of Death” signs in the window of Pintado’s alleged apartment, according to the warrant for his arrest, but no one answered the door.

The Southbury officer then called Pintado’s cellphone number, according to the warrant for his arrest, which says Pintado answered but refused to cooperate.

After telling the officer he had “nothing to say” to him, the warrant says Pintado hung up and appeared to turn off his phone.

Southbury police said they conducted a criminal history check on Pintado and found “numerous past arrests for crimes against persons, intimidation and written threats to kill or do bodily injury” — including one from 2011, when he allegedly sent a threatening email to a Florida state representative over proposed legislation that aimed to crack down on illegal immigration.

MassLive.com reported in February 2011 that Pintado claimed to not mean the lawmaker any harm but told police he “was glad the email made him nervous.” Three months later, Pintado was ordered to serve five years probation after pleading no contest to corruption by threat and written threat to do bodily harm charges in a Florida court, according to Mass Live. 

Southbury police said they also obtained an incident report from police in Fairfax, Va., where Pintado allegedly called the National Rifle Association in October 2022 and “promised that the NRA building would be blown up if there was another mass shooting,” according to the warrant. 

After being transported from a Massachusetts jail to the Connecticut State Police Troop A barracks in Southbury, police said Pintado was charged and later transported to the New Haven Correctional Center after failing to post a $50,000 bond April 11.

Court records show Pintado was released on a promise to appear following his April 12 arraignment at state Superior Court in Waterbury, where he is being represented by a public defender, and has a plea hearing scheduled for May 31.

The Waterbury Public Defender’s Office said Pintado has been appointed a public defender but one hasn’t been assigned to his case yet.