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Police arrest suspect in bomb threats against Royal Oak churches

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 7, 2019



ROYAL OAK — Hours after a Royal Oak man allegedly made bomb threats against multiple churches in Royal Oak Oct. 4, Royal Oak detectives located and arrested him at his workplace.

On Oct. 6, Magistrate Clement Waldmann, of the 52-3 District Court, arraigned Adam Robert Laird, 33, on eight counts of false report or threat of terrorism, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison; and one count of malicious use of telecommunications services, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.

Waldmann set Laird’s bond at $500,000 cash or surety, no 10%. 

The Royal Oak Police Department began receiving multiple reports from local churches that they had received bomb threats via email, according to police. Royal Oak police officers and members of the FBI immediately began an investigation, which ultimately led to Laird’s arrest.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said Laird confessed to police that he had sent all of the emails containing bomb threats to the churches.

“He confessed to doing it, but he had no ability to actually carry this out,” O’Donohue said. “It was obviously very concerning for all of the churches, and we were in the process of arranging for bomb dogs and things like that for the churches. But I need to commend the detectives, who moved very quickly and were able to get this case solved within a matter of hours, which put everybody at ease.”

The churches reported the bomb threats between 12:28 p.m. and 2:53 p.m. Oct. 4, according to police.

Police said the Royal Oak churches that reported receiving the emails were First Congressional Church, 1314 Northwood Blvd.; St. Mary Catholic Church, 730 S. Lafayette Ave.; Calvary Christian Church, 2203 E. 11 Mile Road; Unity of Royal Oak, 2500 Crooks Road; Central Oaks Community Church, 2005 Rochester Road; Royal Oak First United Methodist Church, 320 W. Seventh St.; Woodside Bible Church, 3620 Rochester Road; Starr Presbyterian Church, 1717 W. 13 Mile Road; and St. John Episcopal Church, 26998 Woodward Ave.

Lt. Al Carter, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said police have a couple of potential matches of the same email thread involving churches outside Royal Oak, but “that is still being confirmed.”

“Currently, now we have our nine churches that were affected —eight of them with the actual direct threat about a bomb will explode — and then we have the one church (Woodside Bible Church) that received an indirect threat (containing ‘I hope’), so that’s why it comes in (as malicious use of telecommunications services),” Carter said.

He said the investigation is ongoing.

Laird has no prior criminal convictions, according to police.

His next scheduled court appearance, a probable cause conference, was set for 9 a.m. Oct. 18 before Judge Derek Meinecke, of the 44th District Court.

His defense attorney, James J. Makowski, said he had not yet received any discovery in the case, but he had met with Laird.

“Our country is experiencing a mental health crisis, and it’s blown up out of proportion. We need help for the mentally ill,” Makowski said. “He’s still in custody. He’s doing as well as can be expected.”

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.