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Ohio man accused of making a wave of bomb threats in five states

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man accused of calling in a wave of bomb threats to county courthouses in five states using calling cards including one purchased at Wal-Mart, will appear in court for the first time on Thursday following his arrest, official said.

Lonny Lee Bristow is accused of calling the threats in to courthouses in Tennessee, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Mississippi last year using prepaid calling cards.

No bombs or explosive devices were found at any of the locations, but dozens of building were evacuated.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Bristow in Mansfield, Ohio on Wednesday after investigators linked him to a prepaid calling card purchased at a Wal-Mart Supercenter that was used to phone in threats to 19 Tennessee courthouses last November.

Investigators subsequently determined that Bristow had purchased prepaid cards linked to false bomb threats at courthouses in the four other states.

On Tuesday, agents executed a search warrant at Bristow's home and seized computers, digital storage devices, other electronic equipment, documents, bank cards, weapons and ammunition.

Bristow is charged with one felony count of making a false bomb or arson threat. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Greg McCune)

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