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Bomb threat still under investigation
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Officials gathered in front of City Hall to plan strategy while the courthouse and county offices were closed after a bomb threat Thursday. No bomb was found, and authorities say the matter is still under investigation. - photo by Photo by: Reed Vanderpool
The bomb threat called in to the DeKalb County Courthouse last Thursday yielded no explosive device, and authorities are still in search of a suspect.Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger told the Review Monday that the call was placed to the Circuit Court Clerk's Office a little after 10:30 a.m., and the unidentified caller told a clerk that her husband was planning to set off a homemade explosive device at the courthouse.The chief said initial reports that the man was disgruntled about taxes may have turned out to be inaccurate.“A call came into Katherine Pack’s office, and the woman who made the call said that her husband was upset about something, the first report I got said it was about taxes,” Caplinger said. “It turns out the woman who called said the man was upset about something, we’re not sure what, and that he had been on the internet the night before trying to learn to make a bomb out of fertilizer, and that he was going to bring it to the courthouse.”Caplinger said that the woman hung up before her name could be ascertained.Confusion about the potential bomber’s motives lead to the evacuation of the courthouse and the county offices on Congress Boulevard.“Since it was given out as a problem with taxes, we weren't sure if she was talking about the courthouse or the new county building, where the tax assessor’s office is. We evacuated both buildings, and the state bomb and arson unit and the FBI were brought in.”“After we swept both buildings with the dog and no suspicious items were found, the buildings were opened back up,” he concluded.State and federal authorities were joined by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, FBI, District Attorney General's Office, Tennessee Bomb and Arson, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, and City Fire Chief and local Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker in assisting city police in the operation.While no arrests have been made, Caplinger said the matter is still under investigation.