The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 24, 2014

Commissioners praise response to bomb threat

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — Two days after a bomb threat closed the Cambria County Courthouse for half a day, officials handed out accolades to those who pulled off an efficient search and quick apprehension of the alleged perpetrator.

County commissioners at their meeting Thursday recognized a wide range of authorities who executed what was called a nearly seamless evacuation, search and arrest.

The cooperation and teamwork displayed Tuesday is indictive of the county at all levels, Commissioner Thomas Chernisky said.

“This is not uncommon, getting things done in a very short period of time,” Chernisky said.

The commissioners boardroom was filled with some of those who participated in the evacuation and search of the courthouse and the detention and arrest of Stephen Jablonski, the Johnstown man charged with making the threat.

“Within 10 minutes they found out who this guy was and they had him under surveillance,” Ebensburg police Chief Terry Wyland said. “We were able to identify him, get him under surveillance and interview him. It all went like clockwork.”

The quick identification came about in large part through the efforts of the county sheriff’s department and in particular Deputy Tracy Swope, who posted photos of Jablonski and a woman who may have been his accomplice on Facebook as soon as they were available.

“Within five minutes we had so many hits and we knew who the guy was,” Wyland said. “We all just worked together as one big team. It was just basic police work.”

The woman seen with Jablonski has been named as a person of interest by authorities, but no charges have been filed against her.

“Hopefully it will deter anyone from doing something like this again,” he said.

The effort and success were not happenstance, President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said of efforts by Ron Springer, the county’s director of emergency services, and others.

“When you have something that operates this smooth, it means these professionals have taken the time and energy to make sure it does,” Lengenfelder said.



Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County Courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.