Man charged for school bomb threat

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EPHRATA — A Ephrata man who allegedly admitted to sending out a bomb threat via email has a history of making false complaints to 911.

Grant County prosecutors charged Aaron Stetner, 26, of Ephrata, in Grant County Superior Court with threats to bomb or injure property.

On Thursday morning the Ephrata Police Department received a report of a bomb threat that was sent via email to Ephrata High School. The person who sent the email identified himself as “Daniel Dotson” and claimed there were bombs at different locations at all of the schools in the district. Police were not able to find anyone in their database named Daniel Dotson and staff at every school in the district were instructed to conduct sweeps and search for anything that appeared to be out of place.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office aided the EPD in tracking down the sender of the email. A letter was sent to Microsoft, as the email was sent from a Hotmail email account, in an attempt to obtain the IP address used to send the email.

Police learned the IP address was in the Ephrata area and registered to Northland Communications. Northland advised the IP address was traced to a location in the 1000 block of Hilltop Drive Southeast and the subscriber was identified as Stetner’s father. Police in Ephrata have a history with Aaron Stetner, as he has reportedly made several false emergency reports in the past.

“Aaron has made several false complaints to 911 and in one case sabotaged a Burlington Northern apparatus in order to see law enforcement and fire units respond,” wrote an EPD officer.

In addition, court documents state in 2011 Stetner called 911 in reference to an alleged explosion at the Central Washington Concrete plant in Ephrata. Stetner allegedly wanted to “observe an emergency response” and he was given a warning. In addition, court documents allege Stetner used the alias “Jacob Dotson” in a previous incident in which he was identified as the prime suspect.

Police were able to track Stetner down a few hours after the email was sent and he initially claimed he had no idea why he was being questioned by police.

“Eventually Aaron admitted to sending the threats. Aaron stated he had a disability and sometimes he gets angry and mad. Aaron admitted to sending the email to the school from his personal iPad at his residence,” wrote an officer. “Aaron eventually stated he was sorry. Aaron also stated he didn’t place any explosive devices at any of the schools.”

Stetner claimed he deleted information pertaining to the threat.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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