(CNN) – A man has been sentenced to more than eleven years behind bars for making hundreds of bogus bomb threats in one North Carolina town. For 45 days last summer, Morganton public safety responded to 269 bomb threats in town.
Chief Ronnie Rector of Morganton Public Safety said, “The public lost trust in going to town. We had so many people call us and just say should we go out to eat tonight. Can we go shopping?”
The cost was three-quarter of a million dollars to the businesses.
Law enforcement from across Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties, along with state and federal investigators, traced the calls to 27-year old Cody Startt. He confessed to the crimes after police found him at a home in West Virginia using two different apps to first make the bogus calls and then listen to the police response.
Startt said, “If I could change anything about this I would. I wish I had never done it. I was dumb and I didn’t realize the impact it would have.”
Investigators say he became a possible suspect because of previous convictions for the same crime in Catawba County. On Monday, his attorney told the judge Startt had a mental illness, and instead of taking his medication was using meth. He apologized for his actions.
District Attorney David Learner noted, “I don’t care if he wants to take drugs and go lay in a ditch. He doesn’t need to be out here calling and making bomb threats for his entertainment.
One of those calls came into Bypass Packaging in Morganton, where even though no one was hurt, they say Startt’s actions had an impact.
Clerk Crystal Harrison said, “I thought it was acts of terror, in my opinion, because he was trying to terrify everybody.”
Startt faces some 150 more charges in two other counties.