A 29-year-old Sunsites man has been arrested and later confessed to calling in a bomb threat to 911 at about 2 p.m. today regarding a bomb located in the Willcox Justice Court at 450 S. Haskell Ave., said Willcox Police Chief Jake Weaver.
Bryan Stanton Avitabile told detectives that he did not place any devices in the area, and that he did it because his girlfriend was late for court and he feared that she would be arrested, Weaver said.
Willcox Police responded immediately after the dispatcher received the call by evacuating the building and cordoning off the area. They also contacted Arizona Department of Public Safety Explosive Ordnance Disposal, which at 4:15 p.m. was still checking the Justice Courtroom and surrounding area.
“When we or EOD deem the county building area secure, we will allow people to move their cars and go back inside. Right now, we don't know where a bomb could be and we don't want people moving their cars,” said Weaver.
Weaver said the call came from an unidentified male from the Circle K (public telephone) across Soto Street from the county building.
Justice of the Peace Judge Trevor Ward said, I had 140 pre-trials scheduled for today. I don't know if someone got tired of waiting.”
He said there were about 40 people in the courtroom and all, including prisoners, were evacuated.
The suspect has an initial appearance at 9 a.m. Friday at the Willcox Justice Court, Ward said.
Weaver said that Avitabile is being charged with one count of threatening or intimidating; one count of false reporting/bomb threat emergency response; and one count of false reporting/bomb threat/evacuation of a public place.
Avitabile was booked into Cochise County Jail and later transported to Bisbee, Weaver said.