A now-former Pinellas County deputy is facing felony charges after his coworkers say he sent a fake bomb to their office.
The former deputy, a 59-year-old man who had been a deputy for over three decades, allegedly sent a package with mock dynamite sticks and wiring to a department lieutenant, which he opened January 8 at about three o'clock.
Per the lieutenant, he immediately departed his office and advised a superior, who, in turn, ordered an evacuation of the building. While around a hundred people waited outside, the bomb squad entered and investigated, ultimately determining the package was not dangerous by using a bomb-sniffing dog to detect any explosives or residue.
Investigators say that the only other object within the fake bomb was a piece of paper with the word "Boom" written on it in red lettering. However, as a precaution, the lieutenant advised his family not to open any packages that may have been delivered to them that day. He also emailed office staff, noting the incident and indicating that the package was not dangerous.
The suspect deputy also received the email, prompting him to contact his own supervisor and explain the attempt at humor that the fake bomb was intended to be. However, realizing the seriousness of the situation, the sheriff's office said that the deputy also tendered his resignation.
The episode did not end with his resignation. The former deputy is now charged with sending a hoax weapon, which is a second-degree felony. He turned himself in to deputies at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday and was booked in on the single charge. The former deputy posted a bond of $5,000 and was released within the hour.
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