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Lonny Bristow suspected in courthouse threats in five states

3:26 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
Lonny Bristow, 39, arrested in connection with threats made in Nebraska, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee and Mississippi.
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Written by Mansfield News Journal

MANSFIELD - A man already behind bars is suspected in a series of bomb threats at courthouses in five states late last year.

Lonny Bristow, 39, was arrested Wednesday in connection with threats made in Nebraska, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee and Mississippi in November and December.

Bristow is charged with one count under Title 18, U.S.C. 844(e), which says, "Whoever, through the use of the mail, telephone, telegraph, or other instrument of interstate or foreign commerce, or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, willfully makes any threat, or maliciously conveys false information knowing the same to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made, or to be made, to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property by means of fire or an explosive shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years or fined under this title, or both."

After an investigation by the FBI's division in Knoxville, Tenn., authorities alleged prepaid calling cards were used to make bomb threat calls in Tennessee on Nov. 27. Investigators said the cards were purchased at a Walmart in Upper Sandusky. The Cleveland FBI office continued the investigation and reported Bristow had purchased a prepaid calling card Nov. 27 at the store.

Authorities alleged Bristow had purchased several prepaid calling cards that were linked to the false bomb threats, according to an FBI statement.

"Lonny Bristow induced panic in hundreds of people across several states who were simply trying to do their work," said Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the Cleveland division of the FBI.

Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, credited the FBI for its investigation.

Authorities searched Bristow's residence Tuesday and seized computers, digital storage devices, other electronic equipment, documents, bank cards, weapons and ammunition, according to the FBI statement.

In 1997, Bristow was labeled a "vexatious litigator." Since 1993, Bristow filed at least 137 lawsuits, targeting law enforcement personnel, judges, media outlets and others. Although the lawsuits usually were tossed out of court, they added up to thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

Bristow also was the first inmate in Ohio to have his mail privileges revoked. He received a 13-year prison sentence for theft, retaliation, aiding an escape, harassment by an inmate and telephone harassment.

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