Keith Bowers evidently thought he could fight unsavory rivals in the janitorial services business by passing himself as Latino when phoning in a bomb threat, according to law enforcement officials.
In an effort to drive Carmike Cinemas to cancel contracts with a competitor who cleaned theaters, they said, according to the Ledger-Enquirer, Bowers, 59, feigned a Spanish accent.
The details of what transpired during the call, which occurred in 2012, became public this week as federal prosecutor Melvin Hyde described the case in U.S. District Court in Arkansas, during which Bowers pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting threats to interstate commerce, according to the newspaper.
Bowers is set to be sentenced in February; he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Authorities said that Bowers suspected that his competitors were hiring undocumented workers in order to offer cheaper prices.
In September, Bowers was arrested by the FBI for making the threat, which authorities said happened on Aug. 16, 2012.
Prosecutors said Bowers threatened to detonate an explosive device during a movie at a Carmike movie theater.
The newspaper said: “Despite his Arkansas dialect, Bowers tried to sound Hispanic as he began his call with ‘Senor, this is Jose.’”
Authorities said that Bowers said in his call to Carmike, “You don’t pay us enough. You cut back our hours. We’re not expendable. We’ll show you we’re not expendable.”
Police said that Bowers was soliciting business in Longview, Texas, in 2012 when he used a Bank of America credit card to buy a wireless Tracfone. He used the Tracfone, they said, to call Carmike. He threatened to set off a bomb during the movie “The Expendables 2.”
Bowers said before his guilty plea that he suffered from depression, suicidal tendencies and panic attacks.
He said he is being treated, and that he would not have made the bomb threat if he had sought treatment last year.
“If I had gone in and said something, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today,” he told District Court Judge Clay Land.