Man facing charges in connection to bomb threat at Franklin Co., IL courthouse

The Franklin Co. courthouse was evacuated Wednesday morning. (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS)
The Franklin Co. courthouse was evacuated Wednesday morning. (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Johnston City, Illinois man is facing charges in connection to a bomb threat at the Franklin County courthouse.

Robert E. Bell, 59, is being held in the Williamson County Jail on unrelated charges. The arrest warrant alleges two counts of disorderly conduct. One count is a class 3 felony and the second count is a class 4 felony. The bond on the warrant is $200,000 or $20,000 cash.

According to Franklin County Sheriff Donald Jones, the outcome is the result of a joint investigation with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the Johnston City Police Department.

Bell is accused of calling 911 to report a false alarm that a bomb was concealed in the Franklin County courthouse

The Franklin County Courthouse in Benton, Illinois and the Williamson County Courthouse in Marion, Ill. were closed on Wednesday, September 27 after a threat was made that morning.

According to a release from the Williamson County Sheriff's Department, a 911 call came into the West Frankfort Police Department around 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 27. The male caller made statements that were perceived to be threatening.

After calling the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, the police department also notified the Williamson County Sheriff's office because there was concern that the call may be referring to the courthouse there.

Investigators in Franklin and Williamson Counties responded to their respective courthouses to investigate.

The courthouse and Campbell building in Franklin County were evacuated as a safety precaution. The Public Square was closed as a K-9 Bomb I.E.D. team from Scott Air Force Base responded to search both buildings. Nothing was found in either building. They reopened at 1 p.m.

The courthouse in Williamson County was evacuated as part of an emergency plan. Investigators searched the building and did not find anything. It reopened around 1 p.m.

The FBI and the United States Marshal's Service assisted in the investigation.

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