Bomb Threat Closes Georgia Courthouses
MARIETTA, Ga. (CN) - A Marietta restaurant owner was arrested Tuesday and charged with making a telephone threat that caused evacuation of two county courthouses.
Courthouses were evacuated in Cobb and Cherokee Counties, in the greater Atlanta area.
Jody John Wilson, 45, of Woodstock, was arrested.
"Wilson is also accused of calling in a similar bomb threat on both courthouses in January of this year," Cherokee County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker said.
"It appears that Wilson's Cherokee County home was in foreclosure and was scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps. Detectives believe that was the motive of the bomb threats," Baker said.
The telephone threat in January also was made on the first Tuesday of the month - the date of the monthly foreclosure sales in both counties.
Wilson is believed to own the Starlight Café, across the street from the Cobb County Courthouse.
Marietta, pop. 67,000, is the seat of Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta.
A 10:55 a.m. caller to Cobb County 911 said there were bombs outside both courthouses.
Cobb Superior and State Courts were evacuated for more than 45 minutes, as were Cherokee County's Justice Center and Historic Courthouse, Lt. Baker said.
Cobb County sheriff's officers searched the courthouses and the surrounding Marietta Square, with their explosive-sniffing dog, Chance, Sheriff Neil Warren said.
Chance "confirmed no devices were present," the sheriff said.
Investigators traced the 911 call to a pay phone at a Citgo gas station, a mile from the Cobb County court complex.
Marietta police found Wilson at the Starlight Café, on Marietta Square.
"Within two hours an individual was identified, arrested and the courthouse was safe," Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn said.
Wilson faces 13 felony and misdemeanor charges, including injury of grand or petit jurors or court officers, transmitting a false public alarm, false statements in writing, terroristic threats and acts, and preventing or disrupting lawful meetings, gatherings or processions. Charges were filed in both counties.
Wilson was being held without bond at the Cobb County Jail. When he is released, he is to be taken to the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.
"We will not tolerate individuals trying to intimidate officials, judges, prosecutors, jurors, or other persons conducting business within the courthouse," Sheriff Warren said.