A York County man has been arrested for making false bomb threats against the Rock Hill Police Department and York County Emergency Operations Center.
Jeremy Jermaine Byers, 26, was charged after several text messages were sent to 911 late Friday, according to Rock Hill police Capt. Mark Bollinger.
“We take bomb threats, and any other threat of violence, very seriously,” Bollinger said. “We immediately investigated the threats and made an arrest.”
Byers was charged after officers “pinged” the cellphone used to make the threats, then pinpointed the phone’s location, according to a police incident report.
The first threatening text was received at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Black Street just west of downtown Rock Hill at around 6:20 p.m., police said.
Rock Hill police and fire departments did a sweep of the building. While officials were looking for a bomb, several more messages were sent claiming there were bombs in the building, reports said.
Dispatchers were told that the bomb was where EOC dispatch staff were sitting. Police and fire officials found nothing suspicious at the EOC, Bollinger said.
Around 7:30 p.m. another bomb threat was sent to 911, saying there was a bomb at a desk at the police department located east of the EOC on Black Street in downtown Rock Hill. Several officers swept the police department building and found no bombs or any other suspicious materials.
The charge of making a false bomb threat is a felony under South Carolina law. A conviction carries a mandatory year in prison but can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The law states: “A person who conveys or causes to be conveyed false information, knowing the information to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made or to be made to kill, injure, or intimidate any person or to damage or destroy any building or other real or personal property by means of an explosive, incendiary, or destructive device or who aids, employs, or conspires with any person to do or cause to be done any of the acts in this section, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, for a first offense must be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than ten years.”
The bomb threat against police is the third in a month. Earlier this month, a York County female inmate was charged with threatening to blow up the York County jail.
And in December, York County sheriff’s deputies and Rock Hill police investigated several threats against the York County public works building, Rock Hill police department and other locations that deputies believe were part of coordinated national bomb threats across America. No arrests have been made in those cases.