Threat against planners leads to threat arrest

June 10, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg City Police on Wednesday charged a Gerrardstown land developer with threatening to blow up the Berkeley County Engineering and Planning Commission building last week, according to court records.

Michael Eric Brown, 44, was arraigned Wednesday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on a charge of making a false report concerning a bomb or explosive device, according to court records.

The county's Engineering and Planning Commission building on King Street in Martinsburg was evacuated June 1 after a man called in a bomb threat on the building, police said.

The threat also cleared the neighboring Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library while crews searched the area.

No bombs or explosive devices were found, police said.

Berkeley County Engineer William Teach received the bomb threat and told police he recognized the voice as that of an irate man he had spoken with earlier that day, according to court records.


Teach said the man told him, "This is the God Squad and I have been busy this morning. There is a bomb in your building and I am going to enjoy seeing you blow up," according to court records.

When Teach asked why he wanted to blow him up, the man told Teach, "You know," and said the bomb would go off shortly, according to court records.

When police interviewed the man Monday, they said he told them he called Teach but never used the word "bomb" or the phrase "bomb threat," but he did say he belonged to the "God Squad."

Investigators said the man told them he was mad because the county had not inspected his land development, according to court records.

Brown was released on $2,500 bond.

He is building a 10-lot housing development called Thorn Hill Estates near W.Va. 51 in Gerrardstown, according to Berkeley County Planning Director Harry Carter.

The development has run into "minor" problems with the county concerning the design of a road into the development, Carter said.

Brown could not be reached for comment.

Conviction on a misdemeanor bomb threat charge carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

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