Teen Admits to WPBN-TV Bomb Threat

(Feb. 25, 2009) TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.: Law officers in Northern Michigan are preparing to charge a 15-year-old for e-mailing a bomb threat to the local TV station, the Leelanau Newsreports. In mid-January, the offices of WPBN-TV, the local NBC affiliate, were evacuated and operations were “brought to a halt,” after some station personnel received the threatening e-mail, the Eagle-Record said. It warned of a bomb being placed at the front door. Station personnel were told to go grab breakfast while law enforcement officers searched the building.

“If we find out who did it, I intend to press as full a charge as I can and set an example,” station general manager Jill Saarela told the Eagle-Record. “It disrupts everything, and I think people have to understand there's a penalty for screwing around.”

Authorities tracked down the contrite teenager through the e-mail IP address.

WPBN, branded TV 7&4, let go of nine full-time staff members in late January and cancelled its 11 a.m. weekday newscast. The station is one of about two dozen owned by Barrington Broadcasting of Hoffman Estates, Ill.