SNOW HILL – A Virginia man is being held in Worcester County Jail on false statement-destructive device and arson threat charges after threatening to drive a truck full of explosives into the county government building in Snow Hill to avoid a scheduled court date last week.
Last Tuesday, July 1, the Worcester County Circuit Court received a letter stating an elite special forces unit from Saudi Arabia was going to drive a truck full of C-4 explosives into a government building. The letter stated the terrorist attacks were going to start with the Worcester County Government Building on Wednesday, July 2. In response to the threat, security was increased at the government building in Snow Hill as a precaution.
The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) began working on the case and quickly identified Richard Phillip Matthews, 37, of Greenbackville, Va., formerly of Pocomoke, as a suspect. Matthews was scheduled to appear in Worcester County Circuit Court last Wednesday to face charges of theft over $500 and theft scheme over $500 and had made several unsuccessful attempts to have his trial postponed.
It was also learned Matthews had called in a bomb threat to the Wicomico County Courthouse in 2002 in an attempt to postpone a trial there. He later pleaded guilty to arson threat in that case and was sentenced to six years in jail with all but 18 months suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years following his release from jail.
Shortly after Matthews was identified as the suspect in the threat on the Worcester County Government Building last Wednesday, WCBI investigators learned he was currently residing in Virginia. An arrest warrant was obtained for Matthews and the Accomack County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office arrested Matthews late last Wednesday afternoon and charged him with false statement of a destructive device and arson threat.
Matthews was extradited to Worcester County on Monday afternoon and appeared before a court commissioner for a bond review. He was ordered held on a $15,000 bond and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 1 in District Court in Snow Hill.
The false statement- destructive device charge is a felony offense and carries a maximum 10-year jail term and a $10,000 fine. The arson threat charge is a misdemeanor, but also carries a maximum 10-year-sentence and a maximum $10,000 fine.