Courthouse threat causes Farmville police to close downtown roads

Published 2:26 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

FARMVILLE – An investigation into Tuesday’s courthouse threat continues in Farmville. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, officials stopped cases and evacuated portions of the Prince Edward County Courthouse and the downtown area. Sections of Downtown Farmville around the courthouse were blocked off. Farmville Police also closed South Main and South Streets, between High to East Third Street, for just under two hours.

“At approximately (1:19 p.m.), we received a call to our communications center stating that there was a bomb in the Circuit Court, set to detonate before 2:30 p.m.,” Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington said.

As a precaution, the Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office staff evacuated the courthouse and they brought in bomb sniffing dogs to determine if there was an actual bomb on scene. No bomb was discovered, but the courthouse remained closed to the public for the rest of the workday. It opened back up at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, as the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors held their regularly scheduled meeting.

Residents also had to hold off on calling the sheriff’s office for that two hour period. In a statement at the time, Epps asked people to call 911 if they had an emergency. He said the sheriff’s administration line would remain down until the courthouse was secured. Once the building was searched and confirmed as safe, the administration line went back on.

Both Farmville Police and the sheriff’s office are continuing the investigation into who placed the call.

What happens next?

When caught, the person will face felony charges, as Section 18.2-83 of the Virginia Code details. It says anyone who communicates “any threat to bomb, burn, destroy or in any manner damage any place of assembly, building or other structure… is guilty of a Class 5 felony.” Anyone convicted of a Class 5 felony faces at least one year and no more than 10 years in prison.
The sentence is completely dependent on the jury or judge involved in the case.