Police: Man threatened self, co-workers through account in ex-boss’ name
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A man was charged Friday in connection with what police said was an elaborate plot to threaten himself and his ex-coworkers and pin the threats on his ex-supervisor.
Detectives said 20-year Aaron Lugo was the first to contact them over the threats he claimed were sent via text to him and other employees at the Target store located at 7025 S. Park Center Drive.
Lugo, police said, claimed he was a victim of a former supervisor whose actions led him to quit.
“In fact, he got a civil stalking injunction against his former supervisor,” said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Ryan Shosted. “The threats went out to coworkers, they even went to Lugo’s mother.”
Court documents outlined specific threats included in the texts, including two sent to other employees.
“I am going to destroy target today,” one stated, according to the documents. “I have stuff in my white truck to make a successful mess at target for my last day today.”
“I am going to kill everyone here at target from 10:30 to 12:30 somewhere in that time you will hear a big loud bang,” another message allegedly read.
Shosted said, however, that detectives soon found the circumstances surrounding the texts to be suspicious, leading them to investigate further—including into Lugo’s electronic devices.
Investigators, Shosted said, ultimately determined that Lugo had created a Google Voice account under his former supervisor’s name, and sent the texts from a number that corresponded to that account.
“He was claiming to be a victim, when in fact he was the perpetrator,” Shosted said.
Court documents state that Lugo sent numerous texts to over a dozen former coworkers and his mother that also included lewd content.
“Mr. Lugo was actually sending sexually explicit messages to himself, his mother and to coworkers that he used to work with,” Shosted said.
The documents said Lugo admitted to police that he sent the messages “because he was upset by his termination from Target in November of 2017 and as a cry for help due to his need for mental health assistance.”
Efforts to reach Lugo’s family Monday were unsuccessful, and a spokesperson for Target simply referred back to the court documents following a request for comment Monday evening.
Lugo was charged Friday with 12 counts, including two counts of threat of terrorism, a second-degree felony, one count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony, as well as eight counts of misdemeanor stalking and a count of misdemeanor harassment.
He was being held Monday at the Salt Lake County Jail on $100,000 bail.
“It takes a certain kind of person to victimize people like this,” Shosted said. “It’s good to get all the facts and have somebody like this off the streets for now.”
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