BASS LAKE – A Coarsegold man has been arrested in connection with a bomb scare that closed down Road 274 on Monday near Bass Lake.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office received a call just before noon on Dec. 1, that a suspicious device was found in a trash can outside the Bass Lake Courthouse.
The individual who admitted to placing it there is Eric James Smrkovsky, 29, of Coarsegold, known to the Sheriff’s Office as a “tweeker.” Smrkovsky has a rap sheet dating back to 2006 in Madera County, with charges that include, burglary and narcotics, as well as driving under the influence of a controlled substance, and DUI.
As a precaution, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad was called to the courthouse to destroy whatever the device may have been.
In preparation, road closures around the courthouse were put in place starting at 1 p.m., and remained so until about 3:45 p.m.
Deputies located Smrkovsky in Oakhurst at around 2:30 p.m. not far from Oakhurst Park.
Eric Smrkovsky was booked into the Madera County Department of Corrections on the misdemeanor charge of suspicion of placing a false bomb. Bail was set at $1,000. According to jail records, he was released, and is expected to appear in Sierra Superior Court on Dec. 23, at 8:30 a.m.
The so-called suspicious device turned out to be a 3-foot long tube containing documents.