ELYRIA — A man who was arrested on Monday for threatening multiple times to blow up stores in and around Midway Mall had been convicted of a similar crime before and told officers he wanted to go back to prison, according to police.
Matthew McClain, 30, a homeless Elyria man, was charged with three counts of inducing panic about 11:30 a.m. Monday at a local hospital, according to Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino.
The arrest came after police responded to multiple bomb threats near Midway Mall on Saturday and Sunday.
The first threat came in about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when McClain called Best Buy in Midway Mall and told the employee who answered that she should get everyone out of the store because he was going to blow it up, according to Costantino.
A few minutes later, McClain called the store again and asked, “Do you remember me?” before repeating his threat.
The store was evacuated, and officers searched the area but found no evidence of a bomb, Costantino said.
The next series of threats came a day later when McClain called Target on 240 Market Drive and threatened to blow up the store adding, “Target, bye-bye,” before he hung up, according to police.
McClain called back several times with the same threat shortly after the first call.
Again, police searched the area but found no evidence of a bomb.
Around the same time, McClain placed another call to Best Buy in Midway Mall, threatening again to blow up the store.
“You’re going to explode,” McClain said to the Best Buy employee, according to Costantino.
After finding nothing at Best Buy, police received a tip that McClain had admitted to someone else that he was behind the threats.
McClain was taken into custody at a local hospital where he was being treated and admitted to making the threats, according to police.
“He said something about wanting to go back to prison,” Costantino said.
According to Elyria Municipal Court records, McClain was found guilty of making a threat and inducing panic in an incident at the same Target store in 2007.
McClain was sentenced to four years in prison in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious assault and one count of vandalism.