Crime & Courts

Anchorage man charged in fake bomb threat at federal courthouse

An Anchorage man was indicted this week on federal charges accusing him of falsely stating he had placed a bomb in the federal courthouse downtown as well as six other buildings in the city.

James Pearce, 40, was arrested at the James M. Fitzgerald U.S. Courthouse on Tuesday, according to a memorandum filed by federal prosecutors. Officials evacuated dozens of employees and visitors from the building, according to the memorandum.

Pearce was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on a charge of a bomb hoax at a federal building.

After his arrest, Pearce told law enforcement he was a member of the al-Qaida terrorist organization and referenced ISIS and other terrorist attacks, it said.

Pearce, who was on probation for a 2023 reckless endangerment conviction, was about to be brought back to jail after violating his conditions of release by testing positive for drugs, according to the memorandum. He checked in with his parole officer across the street from the courthouse just before making the threat, it said.

Pearce has made similar threats in the past, including a claim in 2021 that he sent a bomb to the White House, according to the memorandum. In 2020 he threatened to light a building on fire while holding a gas can, it said. The victim in that case described him as being “militant and extreme in his thoughts and actions,” prosecutors wrote. He stated then that he was part of Hells Angels, the memorandum said.

It was not clear from the indictment or memorandum which other locations in town Pearce had threatened, or why he targeted the federal courthouse.


Pearce remained in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Friday.

A man serving a life sentence at a Georgia prison was indicted in April for making and mailing a bomb to the Anchorage courthouse during 2020.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at