As emergency crews responded to multiple bomb threats in Taber, Alta., Police Chief Graham Abela said the man at the center of the hoax was after radio chatter.
“The allegation is that he received some sort of gratification out of listening to the responses to the threats that he had made.”
Abela said a rash of bomb threats over the course of three days, including one to the police detachment, were done at random.
Justin Bagley, 36, of Elkville, Illinois now faces 11 charges related to the fake bomb threats.
“Mr Bagley allegedly randomly selected Taber through an application (app) that allows for people to listen to radio transmissions of emergency services,” Abela said.
“Mr. Bagley located the Taber police with the use of this application and made the calls to various locations in our community.”
Bomb threats were made to Walmart, local schools, the Taber hospital, police station and the CIBC bank. Police and fire officials deemed all calls to be hoaxes.
Fire Chief Steve Munshaw said it was a relief for first responders, who not only work and volunteer in the community, but live there as well.
“We want to make sure that community members and people in the community feel safe… to realize that there is no threat at that given time is an amazing relief.”
Once Taber police had the phone number used to make the calls, a technical forensic expert with the Medicine Hat Police Service was able to narrow it down to Illinois. Then the department of Homeland Security was able to identify who the number was registered to.
“We were able to quickly reach out to Chief McGrogan in Medicine Hat for that assistance and it was provided instantly,” Abela said.
“I can tell you that that officer, I know, worked many hours over this past weekend on his days off to give us the information that we needed.”
Taber police say they are not planning to lay charges locally.