An attempt at a bad joke landed a Hermiston man in jail on Monday.
Around 6:25 a.m. this morning, Hermiston police received a call about a purported bomb found inside a garbage can at 217 E Beebe Ave. Officers arrived and met with an employee of Sanitary Disposal who located a box inside an open garbage canister that was scheduled for collection. The cardboard box had “this is a bomb” written on the side.
Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of David U. Ponce, 23, 217 E Beebe Ave. According to Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston, Ponce was interviewed and admitted his involvement in trying to play a joke on a relative and even admitted to being the person who contacted the garbage truck driver and alerted him to the box. Ponce lodged in the county jail in Pendleton on charges of first-degree disorderly conduct, and possession of a hoax device.
The Hermiston Police Department requested assistance from the Oregon State Police bomb squad to thoroughly examine the cardboard box. A beer bottle was located inside the box. Officers were tied up on this matter for approximately three hours.
“For all the contact we have had over the years with Mr. Ponce (29 arrests and 62 citations) we would hope some common sense would come into his decision making on what is acceptable behavior and what is not,” Edmiston said. “Clearly that was not the case today.”
Edmiston said the police take no chances when it comes to these types of threats.
“There may be some people who question why the police would handle this situation the way we did,” he said. “In this day and age of reckless behavior, we will err on the side of caution each and every time.”
Edmiston thanked the Oregon State Police for assisting in the case.