It's never a good idea to post statements online that may look like bomb threats, but with the Boston Marathon tragedy this week, it's especially unwise.
Alton, Illinois, resident Joshua Clark, 29, learned that lesson the hard way.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office says that an anonymous tipster alerted authorities after seeing a Facebook post of Clark's that said: "Hey Madison County Courthouse, tick, tick, tick....boom."
The tipster saw the alarming message on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a bomb exploded in Boston in what officials are calling an act of terrorism.
"Through our investigation, we were able to determine that the threat was not legitimate," Lieutenant Kris Tharp tells Daily RFT. "There was no bomb or device."
But the post did prompt officials to take extra precautions.
When authorities located Clark, "He admitted writing the post," Tharp says. That earned him a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
"He acted out of frustration," Tharp says, explaining that Clark was apparently angry about a recent experience at the Madison County Courthouse. "He later expressed remorse."
The problem is that, "once it's on Facebook, it's there for everyone to see," Tharp says.
He adds of the Facebook post, "It struck a nerve with people in the community...and in today's day and age we can't take anything for granted."
We reached out to Clark and will update if we hear back.
Here's the full alert from Madison County Sheriff's Office.
The following individual was charged yesterday in Madison County with a Misdemeanor charge of Disorderly Conduct:
JOSHUA MICHAEL CLARK MALE AGE: 29 ALTON, ILLINOIS
On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at approximately 12:05p.m., the Madison County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a subject wishing to report an alarming message that had been observed on the social media web site Facebook. The Facebook "post" was later found to have been written by Joshua Clark on his respective Facebook page. The posting read, "Hey Madison County Courthouse, tick, tick, tick....boom." Investigative efforts resulted in a deputy with the Madison County Sheriff's Office observing the Facebook post on Clark's Facebook page. Clark was later contacted at his home by detectives with the Madison County Sheriff's Office. He admitted to posting the message. Probable cause was developed to arrest Clark for Disorderly Conduct. He subsequently was arrested by Madison County Sheriff's Office Detectives without incident and transported to the Madison County Jail where he later posted bond on the misdemeanor charge.
During the course of this investigation it was determined the threat made by Clark was not legitimate and there was no bomb or device that would endanger the life or safety of anyone at any of the Madison County Government buildings.
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