Teen charged in Caribou bomb threat

Posted Aug. 26, 2009, at 9:54 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:43 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — A student at Caribou High School was charged Wednesday with terrorizing and filing a false public report in connection with a bomb threat that was made at the school Tuesday afternoon.

Caribou police Officer Doug Bell said he would not release any details about the student, including the teen’s name, age or sex, because the suspect is a juvenile. Efforts on Wednesday afternoon to find out the suspect’s name were unsuccessful.

Bell said that terrorizing is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Filing a false public report is a Class D misdemeanor.

The bomb threat was received at the high school around 2 p.m. Tuesday. School officials and police then evacuated the building and students and teachers were sent home for the rest of the day. A search of the school did not turn up a bomb.

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Police would not comment on how the threat was made.

Bell said Superintendent Frank McElwain and other school officials helped find the suspected perpetrator.

“They asked around and listened and narrowed down the suspects,” he said. “They determined that it was a student.”

McElwain said that he, Caribou High School Principal Mark Jones and Assistant Principal David Wakana “interviewed students and got the answer.”

“The students were very cooperative,” McElwain said Wednesday afternoon. “They helped us. The suspect did admit it after being confronted with some pretty strong evidence.”

The teen was brought to the police department to be charged and was then released to parents’ custody.

McElwain said the student will immediately face penalties for the incident, and could ultimately face expulsion.

Bell said police would continue to work with school officials to find and punish those who make school bomb threats.

“We will work hard on any bomb threat to determine who was behind it,” he said. “We will punish whoever is involved to the fullest extent of the law.”

Officers Kevin St. Peter and Mark Gahagan assisted with the investigation.

Caribou High School students returned to classes on Aug. 12, earlier than most schools in Maine, and will take three weeks off in September to help with the potato harvest.

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