In today's volatile climate, people are hyper-vigilant and concerned about the possibility of violence in public places. Because each and every threat must be taken seriously, making terrorist threats or hoaxes, including making bomb threats, are criminal offenses.
Over the weekend, a Tulsa man was arrested after allegedly making a bomb threat at a Broken Arrow Walmart and also saying a bomb was located at the Warren Theater during the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
A Walmart employee working at the customer service desk told police that a man wearing a tuxedo jacket walked in and very loudly stated, "We need to get everyone out of here now!" The man told the employee that there was a bomb in the building, and when the employee asked where it was, the suspect responded that it was coming in with a shipment of meat that was being restocked.
The witness then asked the man why he was so dressed up (after all, it is not every day someone goes to Walmart in a tux). The suspect allegedly replied that he had been planning to go to watch the Star Wars premiere, but that his father told him there was a bomb in the Warren Theater, so he decided not to go.
However, police found the man at the Warren theater and questioned him about the incident at Walmart. The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Timothy Dane Lair, allegedly told officers that he had been at the Walmart on Elm to complain about bad meat that he had purchased at a different Walmart. When police asked him about the bomb threat, he allegedly replied, "I forgot. I did say there was a bomb in the store."
Lair was arrested and booked into the Tulsa County Jail where he is held on $50,000 bond. Unless he posts bond in the next few days, he will be spending his Christmas in jail. His next court date is scheduled for December 28.
Oklahoma law, in 21 O.S. § 1767.1, says that it is a felony to "willfully or maliciously . . . [m]ake any threat or convey information known to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt to kill, injure or intimidate any person or unlawfully damage any real or personal property by means of an explosive, incendiary device, or simulated bomb."
Making a bomb threat carries the same potential penalties as actually placing, throwing, using, manufacturing, or selling a bomb, explosive, or incendiary device or its component parts with the intent to cause damage or harm. In general violating § 1767.1 is punishable by 3 to 10 years in prison. If personal injury occurs as a result of the bombing, attempted bombing, or bomb threat, the crime is punishable by 7 years to life in prison.
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