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Pair accused of threats against Jewish Center of the Hamptons

Melih Dincer, left, 31, of Riverhead, and Asli

Melih Dincer, left, 31, of Riverhead, and Asli Dincer, right, 44, are escorted into East Hampton Town Justice Court by East Hampton Village Police detectives. They face felony charges of making terrorist threats to an East Hampton religious center, East Hampton Village Police said Friday. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A divorced couple from Riverhead have been charged with emailing terroristic threats to an East Hampton synagogue, East Hampton Village police said.

Asli Dincer, 44, and her ex-husband Melih Dincer, 31, sent three emails to the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in May and June, saying there would be an explosion at the synagogue during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, East Hampton Village Det. Sgt. Matt Bennett said.

The pair used aliases in the emails and may have been trying to implicate another person with making the threats, Bennett said.

The Dincers face felony charges of making a terroristic threat and falsely reporting an incident, and misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and menacing.

They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment at East Hampton Justice Court on Friday.

Their attorney, Andrew Wolk of Ronkonkoma, declined to comment.

Police said they arrested the Dincers at Kennedy Airport on Thursday night as they returned from Turkey.

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons said police took the threats "very seriously from the beginning."

"We've been working with all law enforcement agencies," he said. "We know what can happen, what happened in Kansas. We know what happened in many places." He was referring to a gunman's attack on two Jewish centers near Kansas City, Kansas in April, in which three people were killed.

The rabbi said he had never heard of the suspects and believed they did not have any dispute with the synagogue.

The Dincers, who were born in Turkey, live at 40 Peconic Ave. in Riverhead and are unemployed, they said at the arraignment.

They sent the emails to the synagogue on May 28, June 3 and June 8, while they were in Turkey, Bennett said. They sent similar emails to the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, he said.

East Hampton Village police said they sought the couple for questioning this spring, but learned they had left on May 1 for Turkey.

The arrests came after a joint investigation by village detectives, Suffolk County police and New York State Police working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, village police said.

East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky set bail for each at $50,000 cash or $250,000 bond.

They did not make bail Friday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has requested the pair be held in jail, the judge said.

With Gary Dymski

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