The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 29, 2013

Woman arrested in bomb threat

Technology ID’s courthouse call

MERCER — Monday morning could not have started off worse for employees at the Mercer County Courthouse.

At about 9 a.m., a Sharpsville woman called the courthouse, threatened judges and indicated there was a bomb in the courthouse, Mercer County Sheriff Gary A. Hartman said.

Margie Small, of 15 Shenango St., was arrested by authorities at her home at 11:15 a.m., after the Mercer County Management Information Services department traced multiple calls to the courthouse back to the Small residence, Hartman said.

“Modern technology worked to our advantage,” he said.

Hartman would not say specifically why Small called in the bomb threat.

“A bigger part of the problem is mental health issues,” Hartman said. “But that doesn’t negate the criminal aspect.”

Small’s neighbor, Maggie Myers, said she has clashed with the family in the past.

“There’s no telling what they can do,” Myers said. “This just hits too close to home.”

Myers said Small has four grandchildren – ranging from about two to 10 years old – living in the townhouse with her and her husband, as well as the kids’ mother and siblings.

Hartman said Small called a lot of places with complaints.

“This is not her first go-round making threatening calls,” Hartman said.

Small called The Herald Friday and claimed that she had seen a transit bus driver taking pictures of her grandchild and other kids on a regular basis close to her home.

During the phone call, she said she was banned from the transit unless she wrote them a letter of apology.

“Because they think I’m crazy,” Small told The Herald.

The sheriff’s office, the county emergency management agency and county commissioners decided shortly after Small called in the bomb threat to treat the call as “credible and handle it with caution,” Hartman said.

“The courthouse was evacuated within minutes,” Jeffrey W. Greenburg, Mercer County public information officer, said.

K-9 units with dogs trained to detect explosives were brought in from Beaver and Mercer counties, as well as from the New Castle police department, Hartman said.

The K-9 corps swept the courthouse for signs of explosives and found nothing, Hartman said. The courthouse reopened at 1 p.m. Monday for regular business.

Small was charged with making terroristic threats and harassment. She was taken to Mercer County Jail to await arraignment at Judge Lorinda L. Hinch’s district court late Monday afternoon. A preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 7.

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