1 person charged in Red Top bomb threat; Parade still goes on

RED TOP, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston County Sheriff's officials said there was not a suspicious package in a car at the end of a parade route in the town of Red Top. But now there is a person in custody.

According to deputies, 71-year-old Matthew Polite Jr. was charged with one count of communicating a bomb threat.{} According to deputies, Polite told people he had a bomb in the trunk of his Kia after he was asked to move it out of the parade route.

Polite's bond was set at $50,000.

Crews delayed the annual Labor Day parade and spent almost two hours looking into the reported package. Officials said the car is parked at the community center on Old Charleston Road.

"It was kind of different. It was letting you know that times are changing," said James Garner, a man from the community who attended and waited for the event to start. Garner says he saw a "couple of bomb squads, somebody got taken away in handcuffs."

According to a released from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, deputies were alerted to a possible explosive device in the trunk of a car at the community center.

State Law Enforcement Division officers arrived on scene shortly before 11 a.m. Monday. The bomb squad rolled out their explosives robot as well.

Old Charleston Road between Savannah Highway and Main Road was been blocked off and the bomb squad is checking the vehicle, officials aid.

Family members patiently waited as officials investigated the scene. The parade was slated to start at 10 a.m. but didn't start until after 11:30 a.m.

Still, onlookers were excited to see their kids and loved ones participate in the parade. the band and ROTC for Military Magnet Academy led off the march. They were followed by decorated floats provided by churches and local businesses.{}

"This is the way we show our love," said Barbara Wright, chairperson for the parade and vice president of the Red Top Community. "We show our love to our fellows, our friends, from far and near."

Wright says the event has been a yearly tradition for 37 years. Wright remembers attending the parade as a child.{}

"Those days we only had cars and trucks and bicycles," Wright said. "Today, we have lots of things... motorcycles and everything else. It has really changed and it's gotten bigger and better every year."{}

Community organizers offered free food, jump castles and free school supplies.{}