33-year-old Crystal Mostek allegedly walked into a 7/11 in Virginia Beach and placed a device on the counter. She then told a store employee it was a bomb, and threatened to blow up the store. While the device was later determined not to be a “hoax bomb,” her sentencing is scheduled for March 20.
The hearing Mostek, who was arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up the convenience store, entered the “no contest” plea during a hearing on Wednesday.
Mostek was booked in the Virginia Beach jail shortly after the incident, officially charged with a bomb threat, and a threat to the building, as well as possession of a hoax explosive-device.
Previously, at her arraignment, Mostek claimed she was not guilty and the charges were false.
According to HG Legal resources, upon receiving a bomb threat, the person or institution involved will typically lead to the notification of a number of other agencies, depending on who the threat is made to and how credible it is, like the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
“These agencies are often forced to expend considerable man hours, determining whether a true threat exists, sweeping for explosive devices, identifying who made the threat, determining whether others are involved, interviewing witnesses and suspects, etc.”
With this in mind, someone’s prank could easily cost taxpayers millions of dollars in a single day. Not to mention, it diverts “resources from other, more important tasks associated with investigating real crimes.”
This is why the penalties for making a bomb threat can be quite severe.
While laws vary by jurisdiction on a state level, generally, the crime is punishable by more than a year in prison. For someone planning such a threat, they can be expected to be charged with a felony. At the minimum.
When an actual explosive device (or a dummy device meant to look like an actual explosive) is used, the penalties will be substantially higher. This could include multiple counts of attempted murder.
On a federal level, one can expect to face possible charges related to terrorism.
But Crystal Mostek isn’t alone. Virginia has had their share of bomb threats in recent news. A 28-year-old Virginia man faced charges in November after he threatened to bomb a Starbucks in Falls Church.
In May, a 12-year-old—and the second juvenile charged in connection with bomb threats made against schools in Virginia—was charged with 14 counts of threatening to bomb or burn a building.