Man arrested for false bomb report at Sevierville hotel

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 11:34 PM

A man was arrested Tuesday morning for the false report of a bomb at a Sevierville hotel.

Sevierville Police Department spokesman Bob Stahlke said Stephen Merle Griffis, 52, of Winston-Salem, N.C., made a comment to a front desk clerk at the Hampton Inn on Winfield Dunn Parkway (Highway 66) that led the clerk to believe there might be a bomb in the hotel.

"According to Officer Mike Odom, the clerk said that a man (Griffis) had been checking out of the hotel and asked her if she would lose her job if the hotel blew up," Stahlke said.

After making the comment, Griffis left the building. Then he came back inside, went through the lobby and into the restroom. He later left the restroom and exited the building.

SPD received the call from the clerk around 9:15 a.m.

"We were able to get his name and contact information from the hotel, and make contact with him," Stahlke said. "He agreed to return to the hotel and was interviewed there by Officer Odom and Lt. (Sam) Hinson."

Stahlke said the man's room was searched by police personnel and a K-9 unit.

"We had other personnel do tests, and we looked in some of the common areas of the hotel," Stahlke said.

No bomb turned up in the search.

"Based upon that investigation, he was arrested and charged with making a false report," Stahlke said.

The false report came just a day after two explosions killed three and injured over 170 during the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Griffis was released on a $35,000 bond.

rhargett@themountainpress.com