The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office went public Wednesday with the video from the gas station and 911 calls made to Atlanta 911 and Cobb 911 at two different times on Tuesday in hopes someone will come forward to identify the male caller or callers.
The released video is of a silver Cadillac DeVille the caller may have been driving, but the tag number is not visible, investigators said.
The first call made to Atlanta 911 from a pay phone at Ponce de Leon Avenue at Piedmont Road is easy to hear, and detectives say they believe it was made by a black man.
The other call made at a pay phone at the East Marietta Chevron at 1501 Roswell Road is harder to discern, but Capt. Joe Perkins with the sheriff’s office says it sounds like a white male voice pattern when amplified.
“The tone of voice, the speech do not match in the two calls,” he said, but would not rule out it could also have been the same person because of the audio quality on the second call.
The second call was made to Cobb County 911 while investigators were still searching the courthouse after the first threat.
No explosive device was found Tuesday and normal business at the courthouse resumed Wednesday morning with no problems.
One theory investigators are pursuing in the case is the possibility the caller or callers were trying to disrupt the auction of foreclosed properties set for Tuesday on the courthouse steps and shut down by the threats.
“That is certainly one of many scenarios we are considering and it is a good scenario,” Perkins said.
Sheriff Roger Garrison told the Tribune there were not many items on the court’s calendar on Tuesday that could be helped by a disruption at the Justice Center and that it seemed possible the bomb threat was made because of the foreclosures.
“Why yesterday of all days when it was not a heavy court day,” Garrison said of the threats. “We are evaluating all possibilities, including the foreclosure sale.”
Garrison said the second call, which came in about 2 p.m. could also have been a copycat.
“It could have been a copycat, could be the same person, we are pursuing several possibilities,” the sheriff said.
In the Atlanta 911 call, which was received about 11 a.m. Tuesday, the operator picks up and asks, “How may I help you?”
The caller replies: “Yes. Uh. Cherokee County Courthouse will be bombed today. There’s gonna be C-4 on the ground. Be bombed today.”
The caller then hangs up.
C-4 is a military-grade explosive used for several purposes.
Investigators said both calls mentioned C-4 as the explosive in the threat.
The bomb threat did end the foreclosure auction on Tuesday, with the second call causing law enforcement to shut the courthouse for the rest of that day.
According to the Cherokee County Tax Commissioner’s office, state law says that on the first Tuesday of the month between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. foreclosures advertised for the last four weeks can be auctioned off on the courthouse steps by representatives for the banks holding loans on the properties in foreclosure.
The Tax Commissioner’s office was not having an auction on Tuesday for delinquent taxes.
Many of the properties that would have potentially been auctioned on Tuesday by banks could be delayed for at least two months, because those being foreclosed on would have to be notified again and the property advertised for four more weeks.
As the legal organ of the county, the Cherokee Tribune publishes notices for foreclosures and attempted to work with those who were unable to complete their foreclosure auctions on Tuesday to allow them to get legal notices in Friday’s paper, the first of the month.
Most said they were not able to reach their clients in time to meet deadlines and they would have to wait until next month to advertise their properties, making the first Tuesday in August the first chance to see the properties up for sale once again.