Uptick in fake bomb threats in Upstate are 'a nuisance to the co - FOX Carolina 21

Uptick in fake bomb threats in Upstate are 'a nuisance to the court system' says county clerk

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Spartanburg County court officials are cracking down after an increase in fake bomb threats (FOX Carolina) Spartanburg County court officials are cracking down after an increase in fake bomb threats (FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

There are explosive new findings on bomb threats in the Upstate after at least four were made this year at the Spartanburg County Courthouse.

The threats mean officials have to evacuate the building, shut down businesses and bring out police.

Courthouse visitors rushed outside just last month because of a bomb call.

"Oh yes it was scary," said one visitor. “It was scary for all of us.”

Just like most of the courthouse bomb threats, officials said that one also turned out to be a false alarm.

"It is usually just someone who doesn't want to come to court so they just disrupt the whole court system by calling in a bomb threat," said Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Hope Blackley.

She calls the fake calls ridiculous and a waste of tax payer money and time.

"Losing an hour or two to stop court and evacuate court that does a whole gamut of things,” Blackley said. “We have to reschedule cases that were scheduled at that time which then pushes other cases back."

She said the system is already back logged and with Spartanburg County getting hit with threats, it's only causing more headaches.

"It's been a nuisance, a disruption to the court system as a whole and I'm glad to see that there's been an arrest made in the last incident that we had,” Blackley added.

Greenville County confirms they helped in the latest arrest.

Heidi McKay is accused of calling in a bomb threat straight to the solicitor's office. Investigators said she was due in court that day for a financial fraud charge.

"To convey a false bomb threat is a felony in the state of South Carolina,” said Greenville County Sgt. Jimmy Bolt. “It carries a penalty of at least a year in prison up to 10 years. If it's a second offense then it goes up even higher than that."

Bolt said these calls tie up a bunch of units who have to respond, but regardless of the outcome, first responders have to take the threat seriously.

Blackley said on top of that, there are added court costs.

"Not to mention we have to pay jurors who are serving on court,” Blackley added. “They are taking time out of their schedule to come and do their civil duty, then they have to break and pause because of these calls that are actually nothing.”

Employees have spent more than five hours waiting outside so far this year, and Blackley said the latest arrest should serve as a warning that these bomb threats will only add charges.

"Have your day in court and come,” Blackley said. “If it's just in fact someone who doesn't want to come to court, it's just not proper and we will not tolerate it."

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