Emporia man arrested for allegedly threatening Lunenburg school

LUNENBURG COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A suspect is in the custody of the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office after allegedly making online threats against Lunenburg County schools this past Sunday.

Deputies reportedly arrested 30-year-old Nicholas Rhodes on Wednesday afternoon in his city of residence, Emporia. Rhodes was charged with one felony count of communicating a threat to cause injury to persons on school property.

According to a release from the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office, the arrest was made after the Virginia State Police High-Tech Crimes Division successfully traced the source of the online message.

“We were able to determine that the perpetrator was motivated by his anger toward an acquaintance over a certain issue and wanted to get him in trouble,” said Sheriff Arthur Townsend, Jr. “He used an old Facebook page of the acquaintance and sent the threat to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook account … This technique of deception is called ‘spoofing,’ and can lead to serious consequences.”

According to police, Rhodes is being held at the Southside Regional Jail. Bond was reportedly denied by the magistrate. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning for advisement of his right to counsel. A preliminary hearing date will be set at that time as well.

All Lunenburg County public schools were closed Monday, Sept. 12, due to the alleged threat. Law enforcement officers were also stationed at all schools throughout the county on Tuesday to help students and families feel more secure.

“I am grateful for the cooperation of the school administration and all local law enforcement for stepping up to ensure the safety of our students and staff at the school,” Townsend said. “I know it was difficult for parents to be patient, but these types of investigations take time and I am very pleased with the prompt efforts and response of the state police experts.”

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