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Man accused of hoax involving fake bomb

UPDATED: Wed., May 1, 2013, 4:36 p.m.

A Spokane County man was ordered held today on a $50,000 bond after he admitted placing a realistic-looking imitation bomb in a Newman Lake mailbox Tuesday afternoon.

Jacob E. Mahoney, 26, was arrested on felony charges of malicious placement of an imitation device and harassment, a release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s office said.

Michael R. Johnson in the 18700 block of North Thompson Creek Road called law enforcement earlier in the day to report his son’s friend, Mahoney, had called him and threatened to put a bomb in his mailbox.

The man did not have a mailbox, the release said, but he checked his neighbors’ mailboxes at 17919 N. Thompson Creek Road and found what looked like four sticks of red dynamite taped together.

“There was also some type of battery on the device and wiring,” the release said.

Deputies responded to the scene around 3 p.m. and closed down the area while the Explosive Disposal Unit used a robot to investigate the device.

“It was determined the realistic looking device was in fact an elaborate hoax designed to intimidate or scare the victim,” the release said.

Deputies responded to Mahoney’s address and arrested him around 6:30 p.m. without incident. He appeared today before Superior Court Judge Cooney.

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Rachel Sterett said the incident was “extremely upsetting” to the victim. She noted that Mahoney was already out on bond for three counts of second-degree assault where he is alleged to have fired a gun in a parking lot last September.

Public Defender Todd Porter said Mahoney was being threatened at the time and fired the gun into the ground. As for the imitation bomb, Porter said Mahoney didn’t threaten to kill the home owner: he just let him know “that something might be in his mailbox.”

While Mahoney has no felony convictions, Judge Cooney noted that he has 10 misdemeanor convictions, including obstruction of justice and he has three violent offenses pending.

He set Mahoney’s bond at $50,000 and set his arraignment for May 14 at 9 a.m.

Reporter Thomas Clouse contributed to this report.

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