Holly Hill cops: Electronics company employee calls in bomb threat saying she needed a break; 300 evacuated

Latisha VesterLatisha Anne Vester, 33, of Daytona Beach, an employee of Metra Electronics in Holly Hill, is being held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail on  a felony charge of falsely reporting a bomb threat where she works.

 

HOLLY HILL -- An employee of Metra Electronics told investigators she called in a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of 300 co-workers there earlier today because she "needed a break."

The bomb threat was called in prior to the day shift and left with the human resources department, which in turn notified police and 300 people were evacuated at 9 a.m., including the caller, identified by police as 33-year-old Latisha Anne Vester, who works in Metra Electronics' paint department.

Police Chief Mark Barker said Vester admitted making the call, saying she "needed a break" from work.

"As far as her explanation -- nothing, and I mean nothing -- surprises me anymore," the Holly Hill police chief told Headline Surfer.

Here is a synopsis of what happened: At approximately 4:30am, a voice mail was left for the Metra Electronics Human Resources Department indicating that a bomb had been placed on the property, 460 Walker St. In turn, managers notified the Holly Hill Police Department. Some 300 employees of the manufacturing plant were evacuated by VOTRAN buses to Holly Hill City Hall and The Market (a civic center at 102 Riverside Drive) where refreshments and an air conditioned environment were provided. Three Explosive Detection K-9s from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office conducted a complex search of the buildings, grounds and vehicles on the Metra property, a large complex that encompasses a full block and is five blocks away from City Hall.

Holly Hill Police Investigators were able to trace the telephone number from which the threat was received to an employee of Metra Electronics, later identified as Vester.

Vester was assigned to the Meta Electronic's Paint Department and was at work when the voice mail was received. She had been evacuated with other employees when contacted by police. Vester’s cellular telephone and employee identification badge were located at Holly Hill City Hall where she had attempted to discard them prior to an interview with detectives, Barker said.

Vester told detectives that she called in the bomb threat because “she needed a break” from work. Vester is charged with a felony count of falsely reporting a bomb. In addition, at the time of her arrest, Vester was wanted on an out-of-county arrest warrant charging her with felony larceny.

The bomb threat incident required the resources of the Holly Hill Police Department, Holly Hill Fire/Rescue Department, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, VOTRAN bus lines, and Volusia County Central Communications. Traffic in the area was detoured for approximately three hours, Barker said.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.