Police arrest 15-year-old over bomb threat

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.(WIVB)- A teenage boy is under arrest Wednesday night, accused of calling in a bomb threat that rattled nerves at two schools in Niagara County.

Police say the teen admitted to everything, when they tracked him down Wednesday. He said he only meant the whole thing as a prank, but law enforcement did not take this as a joke.

Working together, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and Niagara Falls Police have arrested the person they say called in bomb threats to Niagara Falls and Niagara Wheatfield High Schools on Monday.

Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said, “A 15-year-old student, male student, from Niagara Falls High School. And he was charged with a Class D Felony: falsely reporting an incident in the first degree.”

Technology, specifically a cell phone, cracked the case.

Niagara Falls Police Department Superintendent Kelly Rizzo explained, “A home care aide was working, and she accidentally left her phone behind after completing her duties. The child that lived in the house took the phone with him, and made the call from that phone.”

Police found the phone Wednesday afternoon, in a snowbank on 38th Street in Niagara Falls. Within hours, they’d tracked down the student, who was cooperative and admitted to making the 911 call.

Voutour said, “He made it very clear to the investigator and the detective that he had no intentions of harming anybody.”

Rizzo said, “We do know that he has a connection to the Niagara Wheatfield school; he has a friend that goes to school there. So I think he thought that he would let his friend join in, with a day off of school.”

Manpower from four different police agencies rushed to the schools. Niagara Falls went into lockdown; Niagara Wheatfield was evacuated.

The student reportedly told police it was a “prank gone bad.”

Rizzo said, “That’s really what we want to stress here. For anybody thinking of doing anything like this, we don’t take it as a prank. We take it serious[ly]. And we’ll put the money and the manpower towards finding out who did this. And with technology the way that it is now, it’s not as hard as people think. You can’t simply throw a phone away and think that your problems have gone with it.”

This 15-year-old will be charged as a juvenile, not as an adult. He has an appearance in Niagara County Family Court next Tuesday. It’s unclear whether he’s facing any separate disciplinary action at school.

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