Utah security guard accused of calling in bomb threat, setting fires at workplace

Police say the 22-year-old confessed to the bomb threat but not the fires.

A 22-year-old security guard is in jail after police said she called in a bomb threat against the business complex where she worked and set a series of fires there.

According to Cottonwood Heights police, officers on March 2 received word of the bomb threat against a business complex located at 2825 East Cottonwood Parkway. The complex is comprised of four, six-story buildings.

When officers arrived at the complex, property managers said a security guard had received a threatening phone call on a private security cellphone from a man with a restricted phone number. The man said a bomb was in one of the buildings and that she should evacuate it, then hung up, the guard told police.

Officers and a bomb-sniffing dog swept the building and found no explosives.

On March 11, police were called back to the complex because someone had reportedly set a fire in a building restroom The same security guard told officers that the fire had been set in a garbage can.

While that fire was under investigation, building managers told police they had found the remnants of another fire set in a vacant unit in another building in the complex. According to police, “both fires appeared to be intentionally set, causing damage to the building before self-extinguishing or being extinguished by property management staff.”

On March 17, police again were called to the complex to investigate two more fires. Property management staff extinguished a fire in another restroom trash can, and the same security guard reported finding a fire in a trash can in another restroom in the same building. That fire also was extinguished by property managers.

On March 18, another restroom fire ignited, which spread from a trash can to a wall before it was extinguished, police said.

According to a probable cause statement, on March 23 police investigators learned that alleged bomb threat came from a phone registered in the name of the security guard who reported it.

Police wrote that the woman “confessed to calling in the bomb threat” and “not only placed herself at the scene of each fire” at the complex “but also described the fires in their incipient stages.” However, the suspect did not confess to setting the fires.

The woman, who is under investigation for making a terrorist threat and multiple counts of aggravated arson — all felonies — is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail pending formal charges.