FLINT — A Flint man is facing two felony charges for allegedly calling in a bomb threat during an expungement fair at the Genesee County Jail.
Ceasar Brown, 25, turned himself in at the Genesee County Jail on June 10. He has been charged with one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime. Both counts carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Authorities said that Brown phoned in the threat to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office around 2:30 p.m. on June 2, just as the state’s first-ever expungement fair was taking place on the front lawn of the Genesee County Jail. Several state dignitaries were present at the fair, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, three Michigan Supreme Court Justices and Congressman Dan Kildee.
Over 1,400 people attended the fair, which gave ex-convicts a chance to clear certain criminal offenses and misdemeanors from public record under Michigan’s new Clean Slate legislation.
“At the time, we realized whoever called this in knew there would be a lot of people there,” said Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson. “We conducted a risk assessment, locked down Saginaw Street and Court Street, swept bags and checked people in line.”
Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Michigan State Police determined that the threat was non-credible and that conditions were safe to continue with the expungement fair for the rest of the afternoon.
“With any investigation—especially with large crowds—you have to look at motive and opportunity,” Swanson said. “What we don’t want to do is create a panic. When you have active events happening, you’re behind the scenes determining the motive of the suspect: ‘Why are they doing this? Do they have opportunity to carry out the threat’?”
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said that Brown allegedly made the bomb threat to avoid turning himself in on a felony warrant for breaking and entering and unarmed robbery.
“Mr. Brown was very nervous about turning himself in and, frankly, didn’t want to go to jail,” Leyton said. “So he decided to call in the bomb threat, because he believed the bomb threat would close down the jail and then he would not be in the position to succumb to the pressures from his own family and turn himself in.”
Swanson said that there is no evidence indicating that Brown wanted to harm state dignitaries or attendees at the expungement fair.
Brown is currently being held on a $100,000 bond at the Genesee County Jail. A probable cause conference for Brown was set for today in front of Judge David Goggins.