Man accused of calling in bomb threat to mine to avoid work

April 16, 2014

WAYNESBURG – State police arrested a Fairmont, W.Va., man Wednesday for allegedly calling in a bomb threat to the Emerald Mine in Waynesburg to avoid having to report to work.

John Paul Perkins, 42, employed by a subcontractor at the mine, told police he called in the threat at 1:15 p.m. Friday to avoid work because he didn’t have a baby-sitter for his eight-year-old daughter, according to the criminal complaint.

Emerald officials told police the evacuation of the mine as a result of the threat and the halt in production resulted in a loss of $96,295.

Perkins was arraigned before District Justice Lee Watson on charges of terroristic threats and threats to use weapons of mass destruction. He was placed in Greene County jail on a $50,000 percentage bond and faces a preliminary hearing April 24.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Trooper Daniel Barnhart, mine superintendent Randy Conklin received a voicemail message on his telephone in which a man had said if the mine was not evacuated and operations suspended in one hour, a bomb would detonate.

The mine was evacuated and a search was conducted of the mine by state police, aided by a police canine. No explosives were detected.

Caller identification on Conklin’s telephone indicated the call had originated from a pay phone at the GoMart in Fairmont, W.Va.

Fairmont police detective Adrian Hayhurst obtained a surveillance video from the store that showed a man coming from the area of the payphone and a gray Chevrolet Impala parked nearby, Barnhart said.

Hayhurst was able to identify the man in the video as Perkins from a previous arrest photograph. It was learned Perkins also owned a gray Impala.

Conklin later told Barnhart Perkins works for CSA, a staffing company that provides laborers for a subcontractor working at the mine and that Perkins was scheduled to work the 4 p.m. to midnight shift at the mine Friday.

When interviewed by police Wednesday, Perkins admitted calling in the bomb threat, Barnhart said.

“We were really pleased (police) were able to apprehend a suspect so quickly,” said Steve Higginbottom, spokesman for Alpha Natural Resources, Emerald Mine Resources parent company.

The threat resulted in the evacuation of the mine. “There was an impact to production, but our greatest concern was for the safety of our employees,” Higginbottom said. “It’s troubling to us that an individual would put the safety, well-being and livelihood of our employees at risk for his own interests.”

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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