Lerner Theatre voicemail threat suspect is being held at Elkhart County Jail on $100K bond

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

The man suspected of threatening mass murder at The Lerner Theatre in August has been identified as Thomas Townsend, 56, of Goshen.

Townsend is being held at the Elkhart County Jail on $100,000 bond, according to online jail records.

Townsend was charged Sept. 17 with intimidation, a level 6 felony, and public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor, in connection to the threat and events leading up to it.

On Aug. 29, Elkhart Police Department officers working at a concert at the Lerner were approached by a patron who complained about a disruptive man who was making threats, according to the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office. Officers determined the man, later identified as Townsend, was intoxicated and escorted him to the lobby. He later left in a cab.

The threatening voicemail message was left in the early morning hours of Aug. 30. In the message, a man’s voice threatened that “mass murder” would happen at the next scheduled concert at the Lerner. It was discovered by a staff member on Aug. 31.

Caller ID led police to Townsend, according to the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office. Police also interviewed the cab driver who took Townsend home on Aug. 29, who said that Townsend appeared “drunk” and was upset that he was “kicked out” of the theater.

If convicted of both charges, Townsend could spend up to up to three years in prison and be fined up to $1,000. He is scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on Nov. 24.