Deputies charge man for making false bomb threat at Waffle House

Published: Feb. 24, 2016 at 1:23 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2016 at 1:23 PM EST
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The Waffle House is closed while deputies investigate. (Source: WECT)
The Waffle House is closed while deputies investigate. (Source: WECT)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office made an arrest after determining a suspicious package at at the Waffle House in Monkey Junction Wednesday morning was not a threat.

Deputies charged Michael Nolan Leonard, 38, of Wilmington, with communicating threats, creating a hoax by false bomb or other device and making a false bomb report. He was placed in the New Hanover County Jail under a $100,000 bond, and is expected to make his first appearance in court Thursday.

According to Lt. Jerry Brewer with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrived to the scene in the 5300 block of South College Road at around 5:24 a.m., after a man walked into the restaurant and said the package he had on his table was a bomb.

Sgt. Jason Augst said they brought in their bomb squad robot to move and detonate the package. The robot "misfired" on its first attempt to shoot the package, but deputies reloaded and fired again, successfully disturbing the package. Brewer said the package contained a box full of coins.

Brewer said they have had the robot for over a decade and it has been used in different situations, like hostage events and standoffs. The robot is equipped with cameras that operators use to assess their surroundings without having to put human life at stake.

Brewer said one of the robot's features was especially helpful today.

"One of the tools that we do have on the robot is x-ray," Brewer said. "So we were able to x-ray that package before we ever disrupted it."

Brewer said they searched Leonard's car for any additional threats and none were found. His car was towed away from the scene. Detectives also searched Leonard's home, but didn't find any explosive items.

Mobile users can view pictures of the scene here.

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