December 16, 2014

Albany Woman Sentenced for Calling in a Bomb Threat

EUGENE, OR—Jenelle Robyn Pinkston, age 47, of Albany, Oregon was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison after earlier pleading guilty to calling in a bomb threat. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken imposed conditions of post-prison supervision requiring Pinkston to undergo mental health treatment.

On April 16, 2013, Pinkston used her cell phone to call in a bomb threat to Waverly Elementary School in Albany. Using a disguised voice, Pinkston said “this building is going to blow up in ten minutes.” School authorities activated the fire alarm and called for emergency responders. Approximately 270 students and staff evacuated the school. After investigating, police determined the threat was a hoax.

On May 23, 2013, Pinkston repeated her threat to Waverly Elementary School and called in another false bomb threat to Periwinkle Elementary School in Albany. As with the initial threat, fire alarms were activated, emergency responders were called to the scene and students and staff were evacuated.

Pinkston later confessed to law enforcement and was arrested.

A representative from the Albany School District wrote a letter to the judge explaining the impact of Pinkston’s crimes, calling the threats “disruptive to education, upsetting to students, alarming to parents, and fear causing to staff.” The fire response cost $1,825, which is the amount Pinkston was ordered to pay back as restitution.

The FBI, Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Albany Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney William “Bud” Fitzgerald prosecuted the case.