The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

June 11, 2013

Newton County Courthouse opening delayed after bomb threat received; no explosive device found

NEOSHO, Mo. — County employees and residents were kept away from the Newton County Courthouse on Tuesday morning as authorities made a search after a bomb threat.

Sheriff Ken Copeland said a call came to the dispatch center at the sheriff’s office about 5:45 a.m. He said a male caller said a bomb was in the courthouse and would explode at 9 a.m.

Deputies secured the courthouse and kept people out as they searched inside and outside the building. A bomb-sniffing dog from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department also was used.

No bomb was found. The courthouse was opened to the public about 10:15 a.m.

“We’re working with the phone company to find out where the call came from,” Copeland said. He said the effort sometimes is successful and sometimes isn’t. He said the most recent bomb threat, in April 2012, was traced to a computer in another state. No arrests resulted.

Copeland said if someone is arrested, he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

County Commissioner Jim Jackson was notified of the bomb threat and went to the courthouse. He said the search by the dog was thorough.

“I know it was an inconvenience to people,” Jackson said. “You have to take these things seriously.”

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