Bristol Police have arrested an Illinois woman after she allegedly made multiple bomb threats and several harassing phone calls to businesses in town over the past four years.
Liesel Serbst, 47, of 205 W. Rely St., Towand, IL, was charged with nine counts of making a bomb threat and six counts of place crank or obscene phone calls. She was arrested Dec. 29 after Bristol officers learned she was in Bristol for a visit. She is a former resident of Bristol, and is listed as graduating from high school in town in 1986. Voting records indicate she once lived at 6 Central St., Bristol.
Bristol Police have been investigating the rash of threatening phone calls area businesses have been complaining of for four years. “Several businesses and individuals in Bristol repeatedly received phone calls that were harassing and annoying,” according to Bristol Police reports.
Over the course of the years-long probe, Investigators were able to determine the harassing phone calls were coming from the same person. Working with the RI State Police Computer Crimes Division and the FBI, they traced the calls to Illinois, determining Ms. Serbst was the culprit, according to Capt. Brian Burke.
Bristol Police did not identify the businesses involved, nor Ms. Serbst’s association with them. Capt. Burke also declined to provide specifics of the calls, referring to a press release indicating they were non-violent.
“The investigation found no evidence that the calls initiated by Serbst were intended to be anything other than repeated calls for the sole purpose of harassing and annoying,” the release reads.
Making a bomb threat in Rhode island is a felony, according to RIGL 11-35, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Ms. Serbst appeared before a bail commissioner on Dec. 29, and is next due in court on March 22.