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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Dixon man charged with Pulaski County courthouse bomb threat

  • A Dixon man has been charged with calling a bomb threat into the Pulaski County Courthouse earlier this week.
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  • A Dixon man has been charged with calling a bomb threat into the Pulaski County Courthouse earlier this week.
    Joshua R. Lachowicz, 32, of Dixon, has been charged with a two-count complaint, which includes making terroristic threats and tampering with a judicial proceeding, both class C felonies.
    Lachowicz was arrested late Thursday evening near his home in Dixon by the Pulaski County sheriff's deputies and Dixon police officers.
    A joint investigation by the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Pulaski County Prosecutor's Office led to his arrest in the bomb threat, which was called into the courthouse the morning of Aug. 13. No explosive devices were discovered.
    Lachowicz allegedly made the call from a blocked phone number. According to the sheriff's department, the threat indicated that the bailiffs had just walked past a bomb in the courthouse and the threat was serious.
    The sheriff's department stated that the threat noted a bomb had been placed in one of the courtrooms and had named one judge's court specifically.
    After obtaining several court orders to obtain the necessary records, investigators determined that the threat was made by a prepaid Tracfone using the Waynesville cell tower.
    It was further determined that the SIM card used for the call was purchased from the Dollar General store in Dixon earlier that Tuesday morning.
    Investigators reviewed a security tape from the store and observed a male subject purchasing the SIM card.
    With assistance from the Dixon Police Department, the subject in the video surveillance was identified as Lachowicz.
    According to the sheriff's office, Lachowicz was scheduled to appear in court the morning of Aug. 13 for a pending probation revocation hearing.
    When questioned by investigators, Lachowicz admitted that he phoned in the threat in an attempt to delay his court hearing.
    Lachowicz remains in the Pulaski County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bond.
    "I want to commend Sheriff Long and the other investigators, including members of my staff, who worked very hard and very quickly, to determine who was responsible for this very serious threat," said Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman.
    The threat was made shortly after the Pulaski County Courthouse opened for business Tuesday morning. All of the courthouse offices and courts were closed for the rest of the day Tuesday and reopened for business Wednesday.
    After the courthouse was closed Tuesday, a request was made to Fort Leonard Wood for bomb detection canines and an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Unit so that an extensive search could be made.
    After the search lasted for most of the day Tuesday, the courthouse building was rendered safe by law enforcement and EOD officials.
    "Their hard work, along with the first responders and Army EOD who worked very hard on the day of this incident are to be commended. This type of threat strikes at the very core of our judicial system and cannot be tolerated," Hillman said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Phelps County plans
    At Thursday morning's Phelps County Commission meeting, commissioners were given a draft emergency response plan for the Phelps County Courthouse.
    County officials have been discussing needs to review emergency plans at the courthouse for a few months before Tuesday's incident at the Pulaski County Courthouse.
    Phelps County officials began the review process after a bomb hoax was made at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in June.
    The commissioners reviewed the draft plan, which was also sent to other county officeholders and department heads at the courthouse.
    Commissioners noted that the Phelps County draft plan will be the No. 1 agenda item at the monthly courthouse officials meeting, which is normally held the last Thursday of each month.
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