Police: Courthouse suspect used accent
EBENSBURG – Police allege Stephen Jablonski, 50, 668 Russell Ave., Johnstown, put on a fake Arabic accent and used words like “jihad” when he phoned in a bomb threat Tuesday at the Cambria County Courthouse.
Ebensburg Police Chief Terry Wyland said Jablonski told police he and his girlfriend – identified in another criminal complaint as Heidi Butara – had done drugs early Tuesday before Butara was to appear at a court hearing.
Court documents show Butara was scheduled to appear before county Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III for a probation violation hearing, stemming from a 2011 retail theft case.
“He [Jablonski] was afraid she’d go to jail, so he called in so she wouldn’t have to take a urine test,” Wyland said.
Wyland said Jablonski admitted that he told 911 center dispatchers there was a bomb in the courthouse and that people needed to leave the building, or there would be casualties.
Officials – including Wyland, Cambria County Sheriff Bob Kolar and President Judge Timothy Creany – quickly met to discuss the threat and decided to evacuate everyone from the courthouse.
Wyland said he then received a text from the emergency dispatch center saying directors were able to trace the call to a Sunoco gas station at 115 High St., mere blocks from the courthouse.
Police obtained video of Jablonski making a phone call as well as photos of him and Butara at a Richland Township WalMart purchasing a prepaid Verizon cellphone at 4:40 a.m.
Wyland said within five minutes of the sheriff’s office posting the WalMart photos to Facebook and Twitter, the pair were identified.
When a Safe Streets Task Force, comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement, found the couple at their Russell Avenue home in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood, Jablonski consented to a search of their residence.
County Drug Task Force officials said in a separate criminal complaint that police found drug paraphernalia including needles, pipes and several empty heroin stamp bags. Police also allegedly found cocaine.
Police said Jablonski admitted to recently purchasing the drugs and said he’d used both within the last 24 hours.
Wyland said police also found the empty cellphone package, but have yet to recover the phone itself.
Jablonski allegedly took full blame for the threats and possibly even the drugs, Wyland said, but police still consider Butara a suspect. She has not been charged.
Jablonski is charged with making bomb threats, obstructing administration of law and risking a catastrophe, as well as making terroristic threats and making a false alarm to an agency of public safety. He was charged Tuesday with possession of a controlled substance and use of drug paraphernalia.
He remains in Cambria County Prison on 10 percent of a $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in front of Magisterial District Judge Fred Creany.
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.