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CLARK COUNTY — A New Albany man is facing felony charges after police say he threatened to blow up his workplace in early August if COVID-19 vaccines were required.

Richard W. Lunsford, 46, is charged with a level 5 felony for intimidation — threat to commit terrorism and a level 6 felony for intimidation — threat to commit a forcible felony following a report of statements he’s alleged to have made last month regarding Indiana American Water in Jeffersonville, where he worked as an operator.

Court records show police were called to the plant Sept. 8 after employees reported that Lunsford had made the threat about a month ago. It’s not known why the report wasn’t made sooner or whether Indiana American Water had discussed vaccination requirements with its employees.

The report shows that the previous day, Sept. 7, Lunsford had been called in to speak with management about the allegations. When asked if he had made the statement, the defendant responded “Yes, I made it; I mean it;” he said, according to court records. “The whole world is insane, maybe I’m insane. I may not blow up the plant. I may just join a pro- [Donald] Trump group.”

Lunsford then told management that his statement had been hypothetical, and that “It’s not just me; there’s going to be a whole civil war over this,” he said, according to court records.

The employee was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation and formal charges were filed Sept. 10. The company has since increased safety measures in light of the allegations, according to the police report. An email to Indiana American Water requesting comment and the status of Lunsford’s employment was not returned by Tuesday evening.

Online court records show he was released on his own recognizance Tuesday and has an initial hearing Sept. 21 at 9:30 a.m. in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1.

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