CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-DT) - This week, we feature a serious crime with serious consequences and there is some serious reward cash up for grabs. A rash of bomb threats at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga remains unsolved. As usual in Crime Stoppers, we have a picture of a suspect and we are asking for your help.
"It's not only wasting the university's time," explained Chattanooga Police Officer Daniel Jones, "it's also wasting a lot of other people's time." It has wasted time and resources, not to mention each time rescuers go on emergency response calls with lights flashing and sirens wailing, there is a chance someone can get hurt.
Eyewitness Newsfile video shows the scene in December, with firefighters in their turn-out gear, and police officers using K-9's to sniff for anything. Since October, this scenario has played out six times. Six times, someone called in a bomb threat. Six times, the campus was put on alert, buildings were evacuated, and everyday student life was disrupted.
Four threats were made in the form of notes to police. Two threats were made by phone. Detectives traced those calls to a Brainerd payphone and have isolated the picture of man seen on surveillance video, minutes later, entering a convenience store.
"The problem is that someone thinks this is either funny, or they're just trying to get out of a test," Off. Jones explained, "they're trying to see how we react."
They have reacted by offering big money for the right tip. "The university has decided to offer a $10,000 reward," said Jones. Ten thousand dollars, in addition to the up to a thousand dollars you will get from Crime Stoppers. You could pay off some parking tickets, throw a heck of an end of the year party, or maybe have a nice nest egg to start the next semester.
Do you know the man in the picture? Maybe you have information on someone else involved. A simple phone call will clear your conscience and fill your pockets. Chattanooga and UTC Police along with federal authorities emphasize this is not a game. "They're looking at a Class C felony for each one of the threats which also, it looks like between 2 to 3 years for each charge and also a $10,000 fine for each charge," said Officer Jones.
If you call the hotline, you do not have to worry. We will never ask for nor reveal your identity. "This is completely anonymous," said Jones. "This is Crime Stoppers. I'm the one that answers the phone."
Help us bring this prankster's mis-led comedy tour to an end. We will make it worth your while. Call Crime Stoppers at: 698-3333. More than $10,000 is waiting for the right tip.