Eufaula man charged with making terroristic threats on businesses, police say motive was wanting day off work


EUFAULA, Ala. (WDHN) — A Eufaula man has been arrested and charged with making violent, threatening communications with local businesses, according to a press release.

At approximately 12:31 p.m. Thursday, communication was made between an individual and two cooperative businesses in Eufaula. The nature of the communication was that both locations were evacuated, considered crime scenes, secured and searched. Both businesses ceased operations for the remainder of the day, due to caution.

The Criminal Investigations Division initiated an analysis of the incidents. That evening, communication was received by the same businesses through the identical original device, threatening harm to persons and property the next (Friday) morning.  

Detectives and administrative personnel responded to the additional threats by initiating another immediate, aggressive and thorough investigation overnight.  

Through the investigation, a suspect was identified and the residence of origin of the threatening communication was established. A search warrant was obtained for the residence where the suspect and evidence were tactically secured at 2:30 a.m. Friday morning.  

Richie Earl Smith, 24, of Eufaula, was arrested after acknowledging his role in the threatening communications. Smith’s apparent motive was desiring a day off from work.  

Smith is charged with four-class C felony counts of terrorist threats and is being housed in the Eufaula City Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

“Communications that threaten personal safety, disrupt activity, or insinuate property damage to our business partners and citizenry will not be tolerated and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.” Eufaula Police Department Chief Steve Watkins said. “Technology has evolved to make it seemingly easier for individuals to initiate threatening communications, however, technology has also evolved to assist us in locating and identifying the individuals and devices making such communications. We strongly caution anyone contemplating composing threatening communications to consider their choices wisely.”

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