Two bomb threats in Smithville Thursday led to the evacuation of a local factory and a search of DeKalb County High School.
While Smithville police report that a juvenile was taken into custody Friday by Lieutenant Matt Holmes, Detective Brandon Donnell and K-9 Officer James Cornelius in connection with the incident at DCHS, a call reporting explosive devices at Omega Apparel remains under investigation. The factory was evacuated just after 1 p.m., while the high school threat came late in the afternoon, after school hours, officials said.
Agencies from other counties brought explosive-detecting dogs to search both the school and the factory, but no explosive was found at either location. In a statement released last week concerning the incident at Omega Apparel, Smithville Police Captain and Officer in Charge Steven Leffew said:
"On Thursday, April 16 at approximately 12:56 p.m. the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to Omega Apparel in reference to a bomb threat. Upon arrival, we confirmed a threat stating there were several explosive devices that were in or around the building. The factory was immediately evacuated. Explosive device technicians from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Lebanon Emergency Services Unit and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Squad responded to the scene. Explosive device trained canines were utilized to clear and secure two buildings.
"Detective Brandon Donnell is leading this investigation, and through prompt and diligent efforts, he has developed a suspect. The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to please call the Smithville Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 615-464-6046.
"I would like to extend my appreciation to the Putnam County Sheriff's department, Lebanon Emergency Services Unit, the Tennessee Bomb Arson Squad, Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, members of the Smithville fire department and DeKalb EMS. Special thanks to the Smithville First Baptist Church for graciously hosting the employees while the factories were being cleared and secured.
"Officers assisting on the scene were Captain Leffew, Sergeant Brad Tatrow, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Officers Andy Snow and James Cornelius," the statement from Leffew read.
Meanwhile, Leffew, Emergency Management Agency Director Charlie Parker and officials of the DeKalb County School System released a separate statement concerning the DCHS incident:
"Late in the day on Thursday, April 16, the administration of DeKalb County High School received information of a concerning nature. After assessing the information they received, the school system contacted local law enforcement, at which point trained outside agencies were contacted and explosive device trained canine units were utilized to search and clear buildings and grounds. At this point school officials and law enforcement deemed the DCHS campus a safe environment.
"We would like to remind all citizens of DeKalb County that the safety of our students is our utmost concern and we will continue to be proactive in ensuring all students remain safe. If those responsible for this alleged threat are located they will be prosecuted for their actions.
"The DeKalb County School System would like to thank Captain Steven Leffew and the Smithville City Police Department, Sheriff Patrick Ray, SRO Kenneth Whitehead, Emergency Management Director Charlie Parker and other outside agencies for their timely response and assistance in ensuring the safety of the students in DeKalb County."