Port Angeles men arrested in courthouse, Armory Square bomb scare

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — City police have arrested two Port Angeles men suspected in a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the Clallam County Courthouse and the Armory Square Mall on Friday afternoon.

Police arrested Tony Deason, 43, on Wednesday and Steven Alan Fortman Sr., 49, on Saturday for investigation of two counts of threats to bomb or injury property after Deason allegedly told Fortman to call in the bomb threat to the courthouse and Armory Square Mall, Sgt. Barb McFall said Wednesday.

Deason had not yet been booked into the Clallam County jail Wednesday afternoon.

Fortman was booked into the Clallam County jail Saturday on the bomb threat charges, one count of possession of a controlled substance and three unrelated warrants.

Fortman was charged Wednesday with the bomb threat counts and possession of methamphetamine and is expected to be arraigned in Superior Court on April 11.

He remained in jail Wednesday after Superior Court Judge George Wood set his bail at $250,000 during a Monday hearing.

Deason was arrested at Jesse Webster Park in Port Angeles after police received a tip he would be there from State Patrol detectives, McFall said.

“He had no idea that we were looking for him,” McFall said.

Police arrested Fortman at the Chevron station at 601 E. First St. at about 1:40 p.m., McFall said.

Fortman had been identified through Walmart surveillance footage when he bought a cellphone there that was used to call in the bomb threats, police said.

Police said Fortman admitted to them that he made the call after driving up Hurricane Ridge Road, then threw the phone out the window.

Fortman told police Deason asked him to do so because he had a court date Friday.

Fortman said Deason gave him money to buy the phone and paid him in cash and drugs.

McFall said police are not seeking anyone else in the bomb threat.

A call to a Peninsula Communications dispatcher saying bombs were set to go off at the courthouse on Fourth Street and the Armory Square Mall on First Street came in at about 1:59 p.m. Friday, triggering evacuations of both.

Authorities found no signs of a bomb at either location after both buildings were evacuated, though employees were told to go home for the day.

The investigation and search closed off Fourth Street between Lincoln and Peabody streets until 4:45 p.m. Friday.

Police reports gave this account of the events leading to Fortman's arrest:

Dispatchers at Peninsula Communications obtained GPS coordinates for the cellphone used to make the call and tracked the phone to a location on Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park.

Police eventually found the cellphone lying at the tree line along the roadway but found no associated people or vehicles.

Phone and purchase records showed the phone was activated near the east Port Angeles Walmart about a half-hour before the threat was called in and that a man, later identified as Fortman and seen leaving the Walmart in a blue pickup truck, had purchased the phone.

Fortman was arrested after police pulled over his blue Dodge Dakota pickup truck on First Street.

Police said they found two baggies containing methamphetamine and two methadone pills in the truck, both of which Fortman denied having.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 02. 2014 7:05PM
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