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Ohio man sentenced for courthouse bomb threats in five states

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man was sentenced to more than four years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to making more than 100 calls threatening to bomb courthouses in five different states.

In the Cleveland federal court, U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster sentenced Lonny Bristow, 39, to 51 months in prison for six felony counts of willfully making bomb threats to courthouses in Tennessee, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Mississippi last year.

The threats were "reckless and malicious," said Stephen D. Anthony, a special agent with the Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a statement on the sentencing.

An FBI investigation initiated in Knoxville, Tennessee, linked Bristow to prepaid calling cards purchased at a Walmart Supercenter in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and used in threats made to 19 Tennessee courthouses on November 27.

Further investigations out of Cleveland determined Bristow also had purchased cards linked to bomb threats in courthouses in four other states. No bombs were found at any of the locations.

Bristow was arrested in Mansfield, Ohio, on March 19 after the FBI found computers, digital storage devices, other electronic equipment, documents, bankcards, weapons and ammunition at his home.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Greg McCune and Prudence Crowther)

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