OCEAN CITY – A Virginia man this week is being charged with threat of arson after admitting to writing a phony bomb threat note at an Ocean City motel last Friday as part of a prank on his cousin.
Around 1 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police received a call from the Best Western motel on 55th Street about a possible bomb on the premises. A maid entered a room to clean it and discovered a hand-written note making reference to an explosive device on the premises. Ocean City police officers and detectives arrived on the scene as did members of the Fire Marshal’s Office. The motel manager asked police to assist in evacuating the building.
The grounds were searched by an OCPD K-9 explosives dog along with an explosives dog from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. No suspicious items were located on the property. After a three-hour investigation by 19 law enforcement officials, it was determined the note was a hoax.
This week, OCPD detectives contacted the person who had rented the room where the bomb threat note was found. The man told police his cousin, later identified as Andrew Atalla, 19, of Centreville, Va., who was visiting him in Ocean City, wrote the note as a prank. He was charged with misdemeanor threat of arson.