CINCINNATI — A teenager faces charges in Kenton County for allegedly making multiple bomb threats against the Roebling Bridge, Covington police announced Monday.
Covington police said a joint investigation with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department determined a 14-year-old child was responsible for four bomb threats made against the bridge, all in the span of roughly one week.
That child has been charged with four counts of terroristic threatening.
Covington police said the child was taken into custody in Michigan on Sept. 22 for an unrelated matter.
While neither the FBI or Covington police would discuss a potential motive in this case, psychologist Dr. Stuart Bassman said young people who call in threats are generally seeking a sense of power and there’s one thing that makes that possible.
“The key factor, anonymity,” Bassman said. “That gives them a sense of power, that they won’t get detected. By being detected, it takes away their power.”
CyberIT security expert Dave Hatter said the reason few people are caught for anonymous threat calls is based on the system developed to communicate in the US.
“Unfortunately, all of the technology that makes this stuff possible was designed decades ago,” Hatter said.
He did say one person being caught and charged in connection with serious threats could put a cooling effect on others considering doing the same because anonymity is such a key factor.
Hatter said the repeated threat against such a critical piece of US infrastructure over a major shipping route may have made finding the person responsible more urgent.
“I will go on record saying if they really want you, and if you keep at it, they’re going to get you eventually,” he said.
The bridge closed a total of five times for possible threats; Four of those threats were allegedly made by the 14-year-old, while one was tied to a suspicious bag spotted on the bridge that turned out to be harmless.
Investigators first responded to the bridge on the morning of September 13 after receiving a 911 call from a person threatening to shoot police and put pipe bombs on the bridge. That threat was deemed not credible.
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati.