Arrest made in bomb threat after tip from 'nosy citizen'
Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 2:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 2:16 p.m.
Alachua County sheriff’s deputies were investigating a bomb threat in three court buildings Friday morning when a “nosy citizen” apparently solved the crime and prevented a second threat from being issued.
Joshua James Cheek, 18, of Tennessee, was arrested shortly before noon Friday as he left the Alachua County Library District headquarters at 401 E. University. Cheek was charged with falsely reporting a bomb threat.
Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Steve Maynard said the threat was sent as an online tip Thursday evening at 7:34 p.m. The threat claimed the county’s civil and criminal courthouses as well as the federal courthouse were bomb targets. All three courthouses were reportedly swept for explosive devices early Friday and, when none were found, opened on schedule.
On Friday morning, computer specialists were tracing the source of the threat delivered over the Internet when there was a break in the case.
At 11:56 a.m. Friday, a library employee called the Sheriff’s Office to report that a patron had seen another patron typing in a bomb threat on one of the computer terminals connected to the Internet and available to the public.
“A nosy citizen was a big break for us,” Maynard said.
Deputies stationed at the county’s civil courthouse ran across East Third St. to the library. Deputy Kenny Holt saw a man matching the description of the person reportedly typing the bomb threat and detained him. The man was identified as Cheek.
“He [Cheek] was interviewed and admitted to sending a bomb threat last night and to typing another threat today, but he said he did not send the second threat,” Maynard said.
Following his arrest, Cheek appeared to be ill. He was checked out by emergency medical crews outside the library before being taken to the county jail. Cheek is expected to make a first appearance before a judge on Saturday morning.
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