The pressure just got more intense for a suspect who threatened the innocent lives of Sampson residents by calling in a bomb threat at the Sampson County Courthouse Monday morning.
According to Sheriff Jimmy Thornton, investigators have unearthed a surveillance video from the Warsaw area pay phone where the threat reportedly originated.
Although the exact location of the pay phone was not released, Thornton said investigators have been working diligently to identify the male suspect on the video and are not asking the public for help in identifying the person on tape. Anyone who may have been in the Warsaw area Monday morning is being asked to help, along with anyone who might have knowledge of the threat.
“The caller made the call around 8:22 a.m.,” Thornton said. “He is identified as a white male with a slim build, in his 20s.”
The sheriff said the suspect was wearing a camouflaged hoodie jacket at the time of the incident.
“He was seen leaving the area in a silver/gray colored Buick,” the sheriff explained. “It was a 1980s model vehicle. That vehicle will be key to this case. If someone may have seen the man making the call or knows the whereabouts or the owner of the vehicle, we would really appreciate hearing from them.”
In addition to clearing out the courthouse Monday morning for hours, the caller also held up court proceedings until the building was cleared at 1 p.m.
Officials with the Sheriff’s Office, the Clinton Police Department, Sampson County EMS and Clinton Fire Department were among those who responded to the threat, as well as a bomb-sniffing dog from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
No injuries were reported.
On Tuesday morning, a bomb threat was called into Lakewood High School that left students waiting outside for approximately an hour before officials discovered there was no bomb in the building.
The call was left on an administrator’s school phone line and discovered around 10 a.m.
“We feel that the call was made just before school,” noted Thornton. “Right now we are in the process of trying to trace where the call came from. I feel confident we will be able to.”
Thornton said that since the phone system at the school is internet-based, his investigators are working with Sampson County Schools’ IT professionals to track exactly where the call originated.
“We are still working with them,” he said. “It is still a very active case.”
The suspects in both the courthouse and Lakewood High cases are facing serious felony charges when caught, the sheriff said.
If you have any information on either case, you are asked to call the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-592-4141. All tips will be held anonymous.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.