Dropping the B(omb)-WORD

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By Susan Sharp

An attempt to thwart a $350 child support payment is costing a Knoxville man much more.

Last Thursday, Stephen M.
Conner, 46, 9545 Housmand Way, Knoxville, was slated to appear in Campbell County Child Support Court. He told police he was scheduled to make a $350 payment he didn’t have.

“He told us he knew he was going to jail because he didn’t have the money. By the time he arrived in Jacksboro he had decided the way to avoid jail was to call in a bomb threat,” said Campbell County Sheriff’s Detective Freddie White.

He phoned the general sessions clerk saying “there was a bomb in the lower bathroom,” CCSD Capt. Brandon Elkins said. This prompted an evacuation of the courthouse. 

It was the fifth bomb threat in Campbell County since November. 

After a sweep of the courthouse and grounds revealed no explosives, the public was allowed back into the structure.

Police also began investigating where the call originated.

They already had the phone number because the courthouse is equipped with caller ID, Elkins said. Using a reverse search and working with phone companies as well as cell phone providers the CCSD was able to pinpoint Conner’s location.

He was at a home in Knoxville.

Once they arrived and questioned people in the home it was discovered that Conner had changed his phone number in the last few hours, said Elkins. However, the number police had was the one Conner had earlier in the day.

When police questioned Conner he quickly admitted his guilt, White said. He further admitted he had no intention of planting any explosive devices.

Conner was charged with filing a false report or bomb threat.

This was his third booking at the county jail.