Authorities investigate bomb scare in Nauvoo

By JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 3/12/19

NAUVOO — Several controlled charges were set off in Nauvoo Monday afternoon after authorities spent most of the day investigating a bomb scare involving town hall, the post office and the Old …

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Authorities investigate bomb scare in Nauvoo

Posted

NAUVOO — Several controlled charges were set off in Nauvoo Monday afternoon after authorities spent most of the day investigating a bomb scare involving town hall, the post office and the Old Harbin Hotel.

Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith said the investigation was launched after a threatening note was discovered at town hall Monday morning. 

The letter, which had been dropped in the night deposit box over the weekend, said that a boom would go off at 10 a.m. on Monday and continue in three-minute increments. Town hall, the post office and the hotel were specifically targeted.

According to Smith, the letter also stated that "people who do dirty business will eventually pay for playing dirty." 

The town notified the sheriff's department of the letter at 7:55 a.m. 

Sheriff's department investigators and Sgt. Shane Taylor responded to the scene. Representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office's canine unit also responded at the request of the sheriff's department.

Deputies blocked off a one-mile radius in the downtown area, and town hall, the hotel and the post office were evacuated. 

No bomb devices were detected following a sweep of the three locations by the canines. However, an old blasting cap found near town hall was destroyed by the bomb squad's controlled charges.     

The Walker County Sheriff's Office alerted the public via Facebook Monday morning that threats had been made against several locations but that none had been substantiated and that no one in the town was believed to be in immediate danger. The department made a second Facebook post after the afternoon blasts, which alarmed residents who were unaware of the source.

The letter that started the scare has been sent to Atlanta to be processed for DNA and fingerprints by a federal agency.

Smith said precautions were taken to protect the rest of the county while the investigation was ongoing. 

"The situation was handled very well. We had a group go to Nauvoo, and we also sent units to the Curry area because of the banks and to the east side of the county because threats like this are usually used as a distraction tactic to commit crimes elsewhere," Smith said.

In 2013, the Curry branch of Traders & Farmers Bank was robbed at gunpoint after a bomb threat was called in at Walker Baptist Medical Center.