YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A bomb threat shut down multiple government buildings in downtown Youngstown Friday and put law enforcement on high alert.
“You’d really be hard-pressed not to take any type of threat seriously,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.
Sheriff’s deputies, members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force and the Youngstown Bomb Squad spent the morning searching the buildings.
This happened after 911 dispatchers in Austintown got two calls, saying there were four explosives at the common pleas courthouse.
The first call came in a little before 10 a.m. The second came 20 minutes later, claiming the devices would explode just after noon.
“They were asking for a ransom of $100,000,” Greene said.
The threats also referred to explosives being left at what the caller said was “a courthouse across the street,” prompting the closures and evacuations of the county courthouse, the nearby federal building and Youngstown Municipal Court.
In addition to repeated searches of the buildings, bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in from Summit County and U.S. Homeland Security.
They didn’t find anything.
Greene said investigators are now running down leads.
“I would rather not comment on that right now, other than that we have multiple detectives in a couple different agencies assisting us with, potentially, who may have made this call.”
Investigators said they have a suspect in mind, but no charges have been filed yet.
Greene had a warning for would-be copycats.
“It’s not going to be tolerated, especially if we find out who it is,” he said. “We’ll do everything we can to prosecute these individuals to the fullest.”
All court appearances scheduled Friday will be rescheduled.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said a threat was also made to the jail. The threat wasn’t made to the jail. We regret the error.