Teens arrested in bomb prank

Published 10:37 pm Monday, October 6, 2008

Police have arrested two people in connection with a prank bomb threat made Sept. 30 at the Colonial Promenade South.

The bomb threat, which included a briefcase made to appear like a real bomb, shut down many stores at the Promenade for several hours, costing agencies and businesses thousands of dollars.

James Payton Hutchens, 18, of Alabaster was arrested and charged Friday with making a terrorist threat. Hutchens is being held in the Shelby County Jail on a $10,000 bond. A 17-year-old Alabaster juvenile was also arrested and is being charged with making a terrorist threat.

Alabaster Deputy Chief Curtis Rigney announced the arrests at a Monday press conference.

Rigney said investigators believe the threat was just a prank, although the two males went to great lengths to make the briefcase look like a real bomb.

“This is not funny,” Rigney said. “We will be seeking restitution.”

Rigney said the Sept. 30 episode cost the police department $1,500 just for the manpower to secure the Promenade. The police department will seek to regain that money from the two males, while stores could also seek restitution for business lost during the lockdown.

Several stores were under lockdown after police received a call about a bomb, and the suspicious briefcase was found in the Best Buy parking lot.

The unattended briefcase was found around 5 p.m. Police diverted traffic away from the area and would not allow customers or employees to leave nearby stores.

Hoover Police, Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies, the FBI and ATF were also on the scene.

A bomb squad blew up the briefcase around 6:30 p.m.