NEW YORK CITY — Comedian and “Silicon Valley” star T.J. Miller has been arrested in NYC for allegedly making a false bomb threat after a drunken argument with a fellow Amtrak passenger got him thrown off a train, officials said Tuesday.
Miller, a 36-year-old comedian best known for his starring role in the HBO series “Silicon Valley,” which he left last year, was arrested Monday night at LaGuardia Airport, according to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
He is charged with a federal criminal complaint of intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device on a train traveling to Connecticut.
Miller, a New York resident, faces a maximum of five years in prison, and has been released on $100,000 bail, the DA said.
On March 18, Miller allegedly called a 911 dispatcher in New Jersey claiming a woman with brown hair and a scarf “has a bomb in her bag.” The threat was said to be about Amtrak Train No. 2256, traveling from Washington D.C. to New York’s Penn Station.
Amtrak investigators were not able to stop the train until it reached Connecticut, where it was searched but nothing was found, the DA said.
Investigators then contacted Miller, who was in New York, by phone. He altered and expanded his story, now saying the woman had red hair and a red scarf, and was carrying a “black bag carry-on suitcase with a handle.”
Miller said the woman kept checking her bag without taking anything out, asking the first class attendant what the next stop was, and appeared to want to get off the train and leave her bag behind, according to the DA.
During the conversation, the officer noticed Miller was apparently slurring his speech. When asked if he had drank that day, the comedian allegedly said he had “one glass of red wine.”
The officer then asked Miller if he had a mental illness, to which he allegedly replied, “no, absolutely not. This is the first time I’ve ever made a call like this before. I am worried for everyone on that train. Someone has to check that lady out.”
It was determined Miller was in fact on a different train — No. 2258. That train was subsequently searched and nothing suspicious was found, the DA said.
Investigators then spoke to a first-class attendant on that train, who conveyed a very different story from Miller’s.
Miller appeared to be intoxicated when he boarded the train in Washington D.C. and consumed several drinks on the train before having a “hostile exchange” with a woman sitting in a different row from him in first class, the attendant told investigators. He was removed from the train in New York because he was so inebriated.
“Miller, motivated by a grudge against the subject female, called 911 to relay false information about a suspected bomb on the train, and continued to convey false information to investigators while the public safety response was ongoing,” the complaint against him states.
Officials added that the woman would not have been in Miller’s view unless he repeatedly stood up during the train ride to look over her.
On Tuesday, a day after his arrest, Miller tweeted a promotion for a mostly sold-out stand-up comedy show he is set to perform in Philadelphia. It is not clear if it was a scheduled tweet, and he has not otherwise spoken out since the arrest.