Confirmed: Bomb threat investigation spreads to 3 counties

Confirmed: Bomb threat investigation spreads to 3 counties

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Photo Source: Andalusia City Schools Photo Source: Andalusia City Schools
Scene near Wicksburg Scene near Wicksburg
ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) -

What started out as a bomb threat in Andalusia has spread to a three-county explosives investigation. WSFA 12 News exclusively confirmed through authorities that what was previously three separate investigations are actually part of one large case.

Two persons of interest in connection with the case were detained in Houston County, according to authorities. Their investigation led them to a home on County Road 723 in Coffee County. "The information that we received was that the parties were from Coffee County," said Chief Deputy Ronnie Whitworth of Coffee County. "We came here and then after we got to the location and so forth, the parties had left and went toward Dothan."

No explosives were found at the home, but investigators did gather other information.

ANDALUSIA SHUTS DOWN OVER THREAT

The situation started Thursday morning with a bomb threat call made to an office at the Covington County Courthouse. The caller said an IED, or improvised explosive device, had been sent to a county governmental office.

The caller wasn't specific about which building the bomb was targeting, so all school, municipal, and most governmental activity was halted in Andalusia.

Business near Court Square also closed, as access to the area was blocked. Schools in Opp and other parts of the county were also dismissed.  Officials also stepped up security at government buildings in Coffee County.

Officers spent the afternoon searching government buildings before giving the all clear in the afternoon.

"We feel like we're in good shape in that respect including the schools and the courthouse, and all city government buildings have been cleared," said Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson.

HOUSTON COUNTY TRAFFIC STOP CONNECTED

Earlier in the evening, Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes confirmed two people were detained following a traffic stop in Wicksburg in what he called a "multi-agency, multi-county investigation." Those detained have not been identified.

Alabama State Troopers closed both east and westbound lanes of Hwy. 84 in connection with the arrests, but investigators later left the area and all lanes were reopened.

According to WSFA 12 News Reporter Kim Smith, people near the scene in Wicksburg were pushed back approximately half of a mile. It appeared that officers were checking for explosives. Investigators set off a device near a white sedan that let off a loud "boom." Investigators also used a remote control robot near the car.

Two duffel bags were also found in the car.

Sheriff Hughes stressed that there is no danger to the public related to the Wicksburg traffic stop and the investigation is ongoing. 

COFFEE COUNTY SEARCH CONNECTED

From Covington County to Houston County to Coffee County, authorities expanded their investigation. Coffee County Chief Deputy Ronnie Whitworth confirmed that authorities called for a search warrant and a bomb squad at a home on County Road 723, which is south of Enterprise in the Bellwood Community.

Whitworth said late Thursday one of the people detained would be released and the other was taken to a nearby hospital.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved

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