A rural West Point man’s jailed and facing up to five years for making a fake bomb threat — against himself. Lee County Sheriff David Ireland says the suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Hummel, told his estranged girlfriend there was a bomb in his trailer house yesterday. Two deputies went to the mobile home and found what looked like a real explosive, and decided to evacuate a couple of nearby homes and block traffic through the rural area. The device was very real-looking, and had it been real and something happened, he says they’d be obligated to have taken every precaution so they called the bomb squad to come in from Des Moines. To be certain it wasn’t real, they X-Rayed the device and then took it out and blew it up just to be on the safe side. While he doesn’t have dollar figures, Sheriff Ireland says it cost plenty in man-hours and money to respond to the false bomb claim. He says it’s very expensive to have an entire fire department to stand by as a safety measure, deputies from the sheriff’s office, officials from the Fire Marshal’s office, an entire bomb squad and the time it took them to bring a bomb-disposal unit from Des Moines three hours to Lee County. The response began about two o’clock Wednesday afternoon and wasn’t wrapped up ’til nine P.M., The sheriff says with an orange-level national alert, it’s not the time to be “playing with” fake bomb devices or taking up the time of emergency responders and law enforcement. Sheriff Ireland says Hummell apparently claimed to have a bomb in his trailer to win the sympathy of his estranged girlfriend.
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