Worker Guilty of Calling in Bomb Threat to Avoid Working
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—Steve M. Gutierrez III, 40, has pleaded guilty to threatening to damage or destroy a structure by means of explosives, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Gutierrez, of San Antonio, admitted he called in a threat to the general contractor for the new U.S. Coast Guard facility under construction at the Corpus Christi International Airport at 7:12 a.m. on July 25, 2014. During the call, he warned the contractor to “be expecting two bombs to go off.”
As a result of threat, workers were evacuated from the site and law enforcement responded. The investigation ultimately linked the number used to make the call to Gutierrez. When confronted, Gutierrez admitted making the threat using a cellular telephone which he subsequently destroyed in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement.
Gutierrez, who had been working at the site, admitted he had seen similar instances in which threats were received and employees were released. He explained that he had made the bomb threat in order to be dismissed early from work.
Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey, who accepted the plea today, has set sentencing for Dec. 15, 2014. At that time, Gutierrez faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Gutierrez was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Corpus Christi Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr.