Bomb threats rattle Randolph County cities

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Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Randolph County - A series of bomb threats in two eastern Indiana cities is rattling schools and businesses. Randolph County has seen seven bomb threats in just six days. Police have made one arrest and are looking for anyone else involved.

What appears to be a series of hoaxes has two eastern Indiana towns on edge. Seven bomb threats in six days have been phoned into schools and a Winchester Wal-Mart, forcing the evacuations of hundreds of people. In at least one case, in Union City, police recovered three suspicious backpacks forcing the evacuation of a church day care and senior citizens center.

"We found components inside the backpacks common to the construction of improvised explosive devices," said Sheriff George Sheridan, Delaware County.

An Ohio man, who was a suspect in that case, was questioned by police and released. Police say there's no evidence that the bomb threats in Winchester are linked to similar incidents in nearby Union City where police on Tuesday arrested a high school student for making two bomb threats.The unidentified juvenile also faces potential expulsion.

Residents of Winchester say that whether pranks or legitimate threats, they must be taken seriously.

"My fear is that they're going to do these hoaxes and then one day there's really going to be one and they're not going to pay attention to it," said Deborah Peterson, Winchester resident.

"It bothers me that there's somebody out there with nothing better to do with their time and it's concerning," said Elizabeth McAllister, Winchester resident.

Unsure why the bomb threats center on two small Indiana communities, police are taking the threats seriously while trying to track down and eventually charge those responsible.

A bomb squad blew up the backpacks and are investigating the contents. If these are students pranks, school administrators warn that not only will the perpetrator be arrested but also likely expelled from school.