by Chris Harris
A Somerset man has been arrested in connection with a bomb threat made at a local manufacturing company.
Christopher Dawes, 37, was taken into custody on Friday after allegedly making the threat to his workplace, UGN, Inc.
According to Somerset Police Department (SPD) Captain Shannon Smith, on Feb. 8, at around 7 p.m., police received a report of a bomb threat at the UGN facility on Ky. 3057. The threat was made in the form of a written note that was discovered by a security guard at the factor — Dawes himself.
SPD, the Somerset Fire Department, and UGN management conducted a search of the area at that time and found no explosive or suspicious devices.
The facility was running a shift at the time.
According to Smith, an investigation was conducted by SPD detectives, which included reviewing surveillance video from the factor and interviewing employees and witnesses on the scene that night. There was also a forensic examination done on the note that was left at the scene.
“The cameras were effective in discounting statements that (Dawes) made to investigators,” said Smith.
The results of the investigation led to an arrest warrant for Dawes being issued by the Pulaski County Attorney’s office on Friday.
The Pulaski District Court warrant for Dawes was obtained by the Commonwealth Journal on Friday. It stated that the note read, “To Chris There Is a Bomb on the Rood If It Don’t Get U I Will One Day This Week.”
“The security footage showed that two people were in the area where the note was (placed),” read the document. “The first person was a truck driver who passed through the doorway where the note was located, but made no actions that would be consistent with (leaving) the note, not limited to never slowing down as he walked (through) the doorway. The other person who had means and opportunity to place the note was the security guard Christopher Dawes, who was on duty at the time the note was located.
“The security (guard) was interviewed by the affiant and gave several conflicting accounts of the incident including misrepresenting his actions before the note was found,” continued the document. “The affiant confronted the security guard with the conflictions in his story and visual evidence and the security guard could not justify his answers.”
The document also states that a handwriting expert confirmed that the writing on the anonymous note matches that of Dawes on the incident report.
Dawes was arrested at home without incident on Friday by Det. Larry Patterson and Office Andrew Wilson. He was charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, a felony offense, and with falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.
Smith said that additional charges are unlikely.
UGN specializes in making automobile-related products, including carpet systems and engine side parts.
“Some people may look at (a bomb hoax) as a minor offense, as a prank, but in today’s world, where law enforcement hears about bombing incidents are the U.S. more than is widely reported in the media, we are trained and taught to treat them with respect, and proceed as if it’s not just a threat but an actual notification of a bomb,” said Smith. “It disrupts commerce, disrupts business, and disrupts emergency services that have to respond.
“We’ve been pretty successful in finding several people and convicting several people of making bomb threats over the years,” he added. “We don’t take it lightly.”