BANGOR, Maine — Bangor police have arrested a local man who allegedly made a bomb threat that prompted authorities to shut down Pickering Square on Wednesday night.
Detective Tim Shaw arrested Matthew Strout, 33, of Bangor on Friday morning after interviewing him, according to Bangor police Lt. Paul Edwards. Strout faces a felony terrorizing charge. He was taken to Penobscot County Jail, where he is being held on $1,500 cash bail.
Bangor police Sgt. Catherine Rumsey said Friday afternoon that Strout admitted to detectives that he had made the 911 call.
Police blocked off a section of downtown Wednesday night after a then-anonymous caller reported there was a bomb in Pickering Square.
Bangor patrol officers reported to the area after the 7:10 p.m. 911 call and found a suspicious item in the park. The Bangor Police Department Explosives Ordnance Team was activated to examine the package, Rumsey said at the scene.
Police closed down Broad Street and Pickering Square as well as nearby side streets to foot and vehicle traffic. In addition, the Nocturnem Draft Haus, The New Waverly and Herbal Tea & Tobacco were temporarily closed. Those businesses were reopened by about 9 p.m.
Many downtown patrons who had parked in the area were stranded when police cordoned off the square and surrounding streets for several hours.
Rumsey said Friday afternoon that police found a backpack in Pickering Square after responding to the threat. They used a robot to take an X-ray of the backpack and found there was “nothing hazardous inside,” according to Rumsey, who declined to say what the bag contained.
Strout is no stranger to police. He has at least two prior false public alarm or report convictions on his record, along with a slew of other criminal convictions, according to prior court listings published by the Bangor Daily News.
He was arrested with a switchblade knife in July 2012 after police received a report of a fight behind Leadbetter Mini Stop on Hammond Street that required a response by the Bangor Police Department’s special response team.
Strout was convicted in August 2012 of false public alarm or report and trafficking in dangerous knives and was ordered to spend four days in jail and pay a $250 fine.
Strout also was sent to jail for 15 days when he was convicted in September 2011 for theft by unauthorized taking or transfer. He also has prior convictions for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, theft, unlawful possession of a scheduled drug, possessing marijuana, sale and use of drug paraphernalia, and false public alarm or report, the BDN listing state.
BDN reporter Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this report.