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Courthouse Bomb Threat


joseph hinson.jpg
Joseph Howard Hinson, age 58

On April 5, 2017, Berks County District Attorney Detectives investigated a bomb threat of the Berks County Courthouse and the surrounding area. The threat was received in a piece of mail that contained a handwritten letter delivered via United States Mail to the Berks County Clerk of Courts. In the letter the author stated that on April 17, 2017, a truck with enough explosives to wipe out four blocks would be parked near the courthouse and explode at 3:30 p.m. The origin of this letter was sent from the Department of Corrections, SCI Frackville, Pennsylvania.

Berks County Detectives investigated a previous threat with many similarities in August of 2015. Joseph Howard Hinson was charged in the previous incident and immediately became a person of interest in the new allegation.

On April 7, 2017, detectives interviewed Joseph Howard Hinson at SCI Frackville. During the interview, Hinson admitted to authoring the threatening letter to blow-up the Berks County Courthouse and surrounding areas on April 17, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.

Hinson initially attempted to implicate another inmate at SCI Frackville by placing that inmates name on the return address portion of the envelope which contained the letter. The other inmate was interviewed by detectives and adamantly denied being involved in the threat, but did admit to knowing Hinson while they were both previously incarcerated at the Berks County Jail.

On April 11, 2017, detectives filed the charges of Threat to Use Weapon of Mass Destruction; Terroristic Threats; and Disorderly Conduct against Hinson. A warrant of arrest was issued by Magisterial District Judge Alvin Robinson. Hinson will be arraigned at a date and time to be determined by Judge Robinson.