18-year-old charged in bomb threat made at Tanglewood Mall

Richard Clay, 18, of Rockford, Illinois
Richard Clay, 18, of Rockford, Illinois (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Police say an 18-year-old from Illinois is being held without bond Monday following a bomb threat made at a local mall that forced an evacuation - causing panic among residents.

Richard Clay, 18, of Rockford, Illinois, is charged with two felony counts of communicating a threat to bomb. 

According to Sgt. Johnson, Clay didn't have ties to the Roanoke Valley. They said Clay was working temporarily in the area for a sales magazine - going door-to-door selling magazines. He was staying at the Ramada off Franklin.

Police arrested Clay a little after midnight. Clay gave officers consent to search his hotel room. Sgt. Johnson said they were able to track Clay using phone records. Clay had called the mall and the call went to customer service and someone picked up.

Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke was given the "all clear" Sunday, July 19 after the bomb threat forced an evacuation of the entire building and parking lot.

Roanoke County officials said the incident happened just before 5 p.m. Sunday, when the mall received multiple calls from someone using threatening language.

Richard Clay, 18, of Rockford, Illinois
Richard Clay, 18, of Rockford, Illinois

Mall security deemed it to be credible and called police. Roanoke County was assisted by Roanoke City Police and Virginia State Police. K-9s were also brought in. No bombs or explosive devices were located, police say.

Clay is currently being held at the Roanoke County Jail. Police say they have no reason to believe Clay was making any devices, and say he's not a threat to the public.

Roanoke County police say this was an isolated incident.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Division of the Roanoke County Police Department at 540-777-8641, or the Roanoke Valley Tip Line at 540-344-8500.