Charges filed after Monday bomb threat in Farmville

Published 5:11 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

A Farmville resident faces multiple charges after an incident Monday morning at the Prince Edward County Courthouse. Forty-six-year-old Donta M. Gross was arrested and charged with two counts of making a bomb threat, as police believe he’s connected to a similar incident that happened in December. 

Roads were blocked off and the courthouse complex was shut down, after the call came in. Prince Edward County Sheriff Tony Epps confirmed that at around 8:44 a.m., a bomb threat was called into the courthouse complex. 

“The Prince Edward Circuit Court Clerk’s Office received a bomb threat by telephone at approximately 8:44 a.m.,” Epps said. “The Courthouse was evacuated immediately and searched by the Virginia State Police K-9s and Prince Edward County sheriff’s deputies. No bomb or any other explosive device was found and the case went under investigation.” 

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During the search, portions of Main Street and South Street near the courthouse were also blocked off and remained that way until the all clear signal was given. Local businesses also closed for part of the morning, including Wells Fargo Bank and other county operations, like the Health Department. As of 10:25 a.m., the sheriff’s office gave the all clear and things got back to normal. 

Businesses soon opened back up afterward and the Prince Edward County General District Court resumed hearing cases as of 1 p.m. that day. 

Connected to another incident?

The investigation led deputies to Gross, who they allege is linked to a similar incident back in December. 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.

Gross is currently at Piedmont Regional Jail under no bond, awaiting arraignment.

What’s next in bomb threat case? 

Section 18.2-83 of the Virginia Code 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.

Sheriff Epps thanked the Farmville Police Department, Virginia State Police and Cumberland Sheriff’s Office for their help with the case.