Woman made bomb threats to school, Wesco through social media

January 24, 2024

Stratton

Woman made bomb threats to school, Wesco through social media

By Allison Scarbrough, News Editor

HART — A 22-year-old Hesperia woman used social media to make a bomb threat at Hesperia Community Schools last August and a bomb threat at a Wesco convenience store last April.

Tabitha Diane Stratton pleaded guilty in Newaygo County’s 27th Circuit Court in White Cloud, Dec. 19, 2023 to false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device. Stratton is scheduled to appear for sentencing, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m.

One count of false report/threat of terrorism, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, was dismissed.

Stratton was sentenced in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court in Hart Monday, Jan. 22, for a conviction of false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device. One count of using a computer to commit a crime was dismissed. She was sentenced to 140 days in jail with credit for 140 days served; one year probation; and $458 in fines and costs. 

“She made the threats by sending communications on Facebook,” said Oceana County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Bizon.

Stratton’s threats in the Oceana County case “appear to be directed at Wesco, most likely in Hesperia …,” said Bizon. “After she made the threats, Wesco employees contacted their management who contacted law enforcement. This is the correct thing to do according to our training from the Department of Homeland Security. Many threats are hoaxes or otherwise not viable. It is best to keep calm and notify authorities unless you witness something that necessitates an emergent response. Unnecessary evacuations can cause collateral problems.”

Stratton had no prior criminal record, Bizon said. She remains lodged in the Newaygo County Jail on a $25,000/cash/surety bond.

“She was not a former (Wesco) employee as far as I know. She is a young woman with some apparent cognitive or mental health issues. She has no known means of actually acting on her threats. She is troubled — spends time in her room typing on her phone.”

The maximum penalty for false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device is four years in prison. “Guidelines were 0-3 months, which pursuant to MCL 769.34 states there is a presumption of a probation sentence,” said the prosecutor. 

Stratton is a former student at Hesperia Community Schools, said Superintendent Bryan Mey.

“… We became aware of a social media post that comes from an account that appears to be from an individual with a history of making false and in some cases, outlandish threats,” said Mey. “While this post appears to have come from someone outside of the school system who is well known to law enforcement for making non credible threats, we appreciate the time that a community member took to notify us. In today’s world, if a threatening statement occurs, it is better to inform us so that we can follow the safety protocols.”

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