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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Suspect charged in Finn's Motel bomb hoax

  • A suspect has been charged in connection with a Sunday afternoon bomb hoax at a St. James motel.
    Gerard Hastings, of New Paris, Ohio, is charged with making a terrorist threat – a Class C felony – and making a false bomb report – a Class D felony.
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  • A suspect has been charged in connection with a Sunday afternoon bomb hoax at a St. James motel.
    Gerard Hastings, of New Paris, Ohio, is charged with making a terrorist threat –  a Class C felony – and making a false bomb report – a Class D felony.
    St. James Police Chief Ron Jones on Tuesday said Hastings was being held in the Phelps County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
    "The charges for which Hastings was arrested are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt," Jones wrote in an e-mail. "Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence."
    According to Jones, officers responded to the reported bomb threat about 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Finn's Motel in the 700 block of Grover Street.
    The call came from an employee who noticed a threatening note on the door of room 115.
    "One of the housekeepers found a note on one of the doors that said if they tampered with it...it would blow up," Jones said.
    According to a St. James Police Department press release, two gas cans strung together with wires were visible through the window. Officers then evacuated the premises and established a perimeter.
    The Missouri State Highway Patrol Bomb Squad and the Rolla Police Department Special Response Team were called in to assist.
    The bomb squad deployed its bomb service robot, which broke through the window and retrieved the canisters.
    The canisters were empty, and no explosive devices were located.
    Once law enforcement entered the room, they located Hastings, who was taken into custody without incident. He was transported to the Phelps County Jail pending a warrant application.
    Jones said no other suspects are involved in the case.
    The Phelps County Sheriff's Department and St. James Fire Protection District were also on the scene to assist.
    According to Missouri Case.Net, Hastings is scheduled for a hearing on May 13 at 9 a.m. at the Phelps County Courthouse.
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