The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team arrested a man today who was suspected of making threats against the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.
The Sheriff’s Office identified him as Larry Thomas Mitchell-Stevens, 24, of the 8500 block of Chesapeake Blvd. in Norfolk, and said he is charged with one felony count of violating a state law that covers threats to buildings. The charge stemmed from three phone calls made Thursday morning to emergency dispatchers, at least two of which contained threats of a shooting at the jail, according to a release from the Sheriff’s Office.
The Emergency Response Team, with help from Virginia Beach and Norfolk police, arrested Mitchell-Stevens without incident at the home of a relative in Norfolk, where he was staying, according to the release. He was being held without bond at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center and has declined interviews with the media, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier in the day, the Sheriff’s Office increased security at the jail and courthouse after dispatchers received the threats.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kathy Hieatt said additional deputies were posted at both locations, and the department’s Emergency Response Team, which is similar to a SWAT team, was mobilized. The sheriff’s office did not think the threats were credible, according to Hieatt.
“We think they’re most likely empty threats, but we have to take them seriously just in case,” she wrote in a text.
The courthouse “fairly regularly” receives bomb threats that prompt similar responses, but this case was unique because the threats were made against the jail, Hieatt said by phone.
The incident is the third involving threats against a Virginia Beach public entity in the past week, with the other two involving high schools. Both of those were also deemed not credible, and one resulted in a felony charge against a 17-year-old.