It was the third time this year a false threat had been phoned into the courthouse on a day when a foreclosure auction had been scheduled.
In the latest case Tuesday, police say a man from Acworth was trying to forestall the sale of his mother’s home to the highest bidder on the Cobb County courthouse steps.
Tommie Milan Boleman, 45, was arrested Tuesday just after 9 p.m. at a home on Fairwood Pointe near Acworth on charges of terroristic threats, false statements, obstruction/intimidating a juror or officer and false public alarm, all felonies, and disrupting a public meeting.
He is being held in the Cobb County jail without bond.
According to the arrest warrant, Boleman walked into a Wal-mart in Dallas at 10 a.m. Tuesday, where he used $40 cash to purchase a Verizon pre-paid phone and a phone card containing one minute of calling time. He left the store and allegedly called in a bomb threat to the Cobb County Government Information line at 10:25 a.m., according to the warrant.
He told a county employee “that there was a bomb in the courthouse and he could not believe they were selling her house,” the warrant states.
A news release from the Sheriff’s Office states that the home on Fairwood Pointe, which is in the Brookstone subdivision near Due West and Mars Hill roads in northwest Cobb, was in foreclosure and scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps Tuesday morning.
The owner of the home is listed as Terri Harrington, according to the Cobb County Tax Assessor’s Office.
“At this time, it is not clear what the relationship is between Boleman and the owner,” said the Sheriff’s Office news release.
But the warrant states that the home belonged to Boleman’s mother.
State law sets the sales of foreclosed homes for the first Tuesday of every month.
After Boleman allegedly called in the threat, deputies brought in a specially trained dog to sniff for explosives but no bomb was found.
Authorities did not evacuate the courthouse as they have during previous bomb threats.
“With the information we had available, we felt that it did not elevate to the level of an evacuation at that time,” said Chief Deputy Milton Beck.
Beck said one of the most important duties of the Sheriff’s Office is to ensure the safety and security of the judicial complex.
The sheriff reiterated that point Wednesday.
“As I have said before, we will not tolerate anyone trying to intimidate our court officials, our prosecutors and our citizens coming to the Cobb County courthouse to conduct business,” said Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren.
“Our agency has policies and procedures in place to handle this type of incident,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, the deputies responding to this situation did an outstanding job and I am proud of their efforts.”
If Boleman is found guilty on the terroristic threats charge, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined nearly $100,000; and for the false public alarm and false statements, he could get up to five years on each count and pay $1,000 in fines.
Cobb Clerk of Court records also indicate that Boleman does have previous arrests.
In 1996, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance, and in 1998 burglary charges.
Everything caught on surveillance cameras
Less than 30 minutes before Boleman allegedly called in the bomb threat, he was caught on cameras at the Walmart in Dallas going in and out of the store and buying a phone to make the call.
Surveillance footage shows Boleman driving into the parking lot in a white Chevrolet pickup truck, and after parking, he got out of his car wearing khaki shorts and a tucked-in blue polo, according to the warrant.
He reportedly entered the store, then went back to his truck and took off an ID lanyard and put on an Atlanta Braves hat.
Boleman re-entered through the automotive entrance at Walmart and went straight to the electronics department where he purchased the phone and pre-paid minute card, which was activated by a sales clerk.
“He then rapidly exits the store and leaves from the back entrance of the Walmart,” the warrant states.
There is also a description of his truck, including the location of dents, and using that information and a license plate number the sheriff’s investigators traced the truck back to the Fairwood Pointe residence, where Boleman was taken into custody.
Third bomb threat arrest in recent months
Jody John Wilson, 45, was arrested on similar charges on May 7 after being apprehended at his restaurant on Roswell Street, The Starlight Café, about an hour after he reportedly called in bomb threats to the Cobb and Cherokee County courthouses from a nearby pay phone.
In Cobb, Wilson was charged with two counts each of terroristic threats and acts, preventing or disrupting “lawful” meetings, transmitting a false public alarm, false statements or writings and obstruction. One round of counts is for the May 7 incident and the second round is for a similar incident on Jan. 2.
Cobb authorities have yet to say why they think Wilson made the threat, but his home in Woodstock has been advertised for foreclosure 10 times since 2010, according to records.
When and if Wilson is released from Cobb Jail, he will be taken to the Cherokee County Jail to face more charges there.
Wilson allegedly phoned in his threat around 10:55 a.m. to Cobb County 911.
Investigators were able to determine that the call originated from a pay phone at the Citgo gas station on Roswell Street, thanks to a surveillance camera at the Citgo.
Wilson’s cafe is less than a mile down the street from the Citgo, where Wilson or his car were reportedly spotted on camera at the time the call was placed.