Bomb scare: Case closed
But the man, identified only as a “male in his 20s and a resident of Minturn” will not face criminal charges, said District Attorney Michael Goodbee Tuesday.
“What the investigation revealed is that the message of “I am a bomb’ was put on the suspect’s cell phone by a friend, and the suspect didn’t know how to remove it,” Goodbee said, adding that a review of the investigation into the bomb scare shows “there wasn’t any criminal intent to frighten or alarm anyone.”
The threatening message on the cell phone prompted police to shut down a two-block area surrounding the Minturn branch of FirstBank for a five-hour period June 5. A local couple had called police after they discovered the phone next to the ATM machine.
About 35 residents were temporarily displaced until a bomb team, summoned from Jefferson County, cleared the scene and found the phone to be free of explosives.
The man, meanwhile, called friends looking for the phone he had misplaced, Goodbee said. He contacted police after hearing about the bomb scare.
The suspect told police in an interview following the bomb scare that “he felt really bad,” Goodbee said.
The investigation, led by Minturn Police Chief Lorenzo Martinez, included interviews with six friends of the suspect, who corroborated the man’s story that he unsuccessfully tried to remove the message from the phone. All six told investigators that the man was not known for violent behavior and had not talked of holding grudges against the town or the bank.
One friend described the suspect as “totally mellow” and told police that perpetrating a bomb threat “would be completely out of his nature.”
Given the current information, Goodbee said, the case is closed – unless additional information becomes available and changes the known set of circumstances.
“I’m satisfied that the man shouldn’t be prosecuted, given what we know at this time,” Goodbee said.
Instead the unfortunate mishap, should serve as a reminder to others to be cautious with words and actions in a time forever changed post-Sept. 11, Goodbee said.
“We used to know that in airports you had to be very cautious with certain words and gestures,” he said. “Unfortunately in our current climate and given the terrorist incidents, both in Israel and here, the perimeters of that area, where you have to be more guarded, has expanded – we are certainly beyond the doors of airports now.”
Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at email@example.com