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Bomb threat causes evacuation of law enforcement center

by Merrie Leininger

Court was held without the usual formalities Monday – on the lawn of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

Judge Michael P. Gibbons, of District Court Department Two, continued with one hearing although the rest of the building was evacuated because of a bomb threat. When that proceeding was concluded, the courtroom simply moved outside.

Usual procedures were thrown out the window as people standing around made jokes, “I haven’t done this since college,” and “Order in the court.”

Two juvenile cases were heard with the judge sitting on the grass, then the whole thing moved a little further down the yard to continue with the closed hearings.

“Everyone was present and ready to go,” Gibbons said about his decision to finish the morning calendar on the lawn. “One of the juveniles was in he juvenile center and requesting to be released, and a couple of people had traveled from far away, so I thought they had the right to be heard as timely as possible. There was no reason not to do it..”

n Unusual circumstances. Gibbons said it was the first time he has every held court under such unusual circumstances.

“I know I’ve had some unusual things happen, but this is the first time this has happened,” he said. “It was the first time I (acted as judge) without my black robe. I think it made people more comfortable. It was a good experience.”

Personnel from the other courts, District Attorney’s office, probation office and sheriff’s department sat around the front door of the building, talking about the interruption of their day and speculating on the outcome – based on the limited information they could glean from passing deputies.

The beginning of the strange day for those who work in the building was just a regular morning for Emil Slatkovski, a 34-year resident of Gardnerville.

He said he was having his daily cup of coffee and piece of toast at Sharkey’s. When he came out of the casino and got into his truck, a computer-printed note was stuck to his steering wheel, which read, “Do not start car. Bomb under truck.”

According to Crawford, the note was blue-shaded with black lettering and had adhesive on one end.

Thinking it was just a bad joke, Slatkovski went on with his errands, stoping at The Record-Courier to place a classified ad in the newspaper, and picking up his dry cleaning on the way to the golf course where he works.

“Then I started to think, ‘That’s sick. It’s not a joke,’ So I thought I would stop and report it – why, I don’t know now,” he said.

Slatkovski said he had no idea who would do such a thing.

“I have lived here for years and years. I have no idea who would have done this,” he said.

n No bomb. Detective Aaron Crawford of the Tahoe-Douglas Bomb Squad said the 1972 Chevrolet full-size blue and white truck was checked completely and came up clean.

Because Slatkovski had pulled the truck right up to the building, a van and a bomb squad truck were parked between the truck and the building.

Each part of the truck, such as the turn signals and the radio were turned on remotely after the truck was visually checked for a bomb.

“We have to take every precaution,” he said. “Even though he drove it over here, it’s possible the wires that weren’t hooked up before connected while it was jiggling around.”

Crawford said he believed whoever was responsible for the note had deliberately picked out Slatkovski.

“It was deliberately done by somebody who had knowledge – it was premeditated,” he said. “This is somebody he’s made angry or had a problem with.”

The Secret Witness program is offering $250 to anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of the suspect.

Anyone with information can remain anonymous and can call 78-CRIME, 587-7295 or Crawford at 782-9926.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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