Crime

Man arrested for using hoax bomb to keep his wife away from his car, officials say

Horry County Police bomb squad units are on scene at a residence of Highway 707.
Horry County Police bomb squad units are on scene at a residence of Highway 707. cboschult@thesunnews.com

A sign saying "do not touch anything metal or it could mean your life" was enough for Horry County firefighters to suspect that the medic call they were responding to was not the full story.

On July 5, Robert Flinchum, 68, drunkenly requested help after telling emergency services his wife poisoned him, according to a Horry County police report.

After officers arrived to their house in a community off S.C. 707 near Bay Road, they transferred Flinchum to Waccamaw Hospital and the firefighters began to clean up the scene. There were clothes and shoes tossed on the front lawn with a "for free" sign, according to the reports.

Officers also noticed a car in the front driveway with a metal wire running toward the garage. Then officers saw the "do not touch anything metal or it could mean your life" sign on the car.

The fire officials evacuated the scene, believing that the car could contain a bomb. The bomb squad and hazmat team responded and neighboring houses were evacuated.

Bomb guy real.jpg
Photo courtesy of J Reuben Long Detention Center

When an officer spoke with Flinchum at the hospital, he said the car was connected to a lamp in the garage and the note was to deter his wife from touching or attempting to move the car.

Flinchum told the officer that there was no bomb in the car — it was just a scare tactic to keep people from attempting to take the vehicle.

The report confirmed that no bombs were found, but the metal wire was charged with an electrical current. Still, a warrant stating he he knowingly manufactured a hoax device was made for Flinchum's arrest.

Flinchum was still being held at J Ruben Long Detention Center as of Friday afternoon.

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