Brandon Tyler Powers, 23, 534 Church Lane, Church Hill, was arrested early Thursday morning on a warrant charging him with felony filing a false report.
On Aug. 22 shortly before 2 a.m., Rogersville police, firefighters and Hawkins County EMS were dispatched to the TRW plant located at 7500 Highway 11-W in response to a bomb threat received at the plant’s security guard shack.
TRW security guard Kristin Richards told police that at 1:38 a.m. she received a call in the guard shack from a male with a “husky voice” who stated, “This is a bomb threat and you need to get everybody out of the building by 2:30 a.m.”
Richards told police the building was immediately evacuated, and police were notified.
The Morristown Police Department also responded to the plant with a bomb-sniffing dog and conducted a search with police and firefighters, but no bomb was located.
Rogersville Police Department Detective Charlie Gibson said the plant was offline about four hours, and company officials told him that the lost production during the incident exceeded $1 million.
TRW Automotive subsequently offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the incident.
The investigation later revealed that the bomb threat originated from inside the plant.
During the investigation RPD detectives interviewed TRW employees.
Gibson said three employees gave police statements that a person told them Powers had called in the bomb threat, “to get out of work and to go home.”
Gibson stated in the arrest warrant, “The witnesses also stated they heard Brandon Tyler Powers talking on a cell phone in the bathroom stating ‘they have busted me’ and ‘come pick me up from work’.”
The bogus bomb threat was made from a phone outside the cafeteria in the plant.
Gibson told the Times-News Thursday that phone is currently at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab being checked for fingerprints.
“They told me he just didn’t want to work, and he was always trying to figure out an excuse to get out of work or get off work,” Gibson said. “We interviewed night shift employees over the course of two nights, and after we interviewed him he quit. Then we received information from other employees linking him to the phone call. I don’t know how long he worked there, but he was full time.”
Tennessee Code Annotated 39-16-502 states it is a Class E felony for any person to intentionally initiate or circulate a report of a past, present, or impending bombing, fire, or other emergency knowing that the report is false or baseless; knowing it will cause action of any sort by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with those emergencies; knowing it will place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; and/or knowing it will prevent or interrupt the occupation of any building, place of assembly, form of conveyance, or any other place to which the public has access.
Powers was released from the Hawkins County Jail Thursday morning on $500 bond and will be arraigned Oct. 24.