Caswell man charged in connection with NMCC bomb threats

Posted Oct. 20, 2009, at 8:09 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:39 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A 29-year-old Caswell man has been charged in connection with two bomb threats this month at Northern Maine Community College.

Detective Sgt. Wayne Selfridge of the Presque Isle Police Department said Tuesday evening that Chad Leighton, an NMCC student, was charged with two counts of terrorizing stemming from his allegedly phoning in the threats to the campus.

On Oct. 2, two calls to separate desks in the Christie Complex made direct threats of a bomb in the complex and forced the daylong evacuation of the entire campus and cancellation of classes.

No bomb was found in that incident.

On Monday, an NMCC employee in the business office received another bomb threat through a phone call at 10:59 a.m. The threat again targeted the Christie Complex.

In both cases, close to an entire day of classes was lost and up to 1,000 students and 100 employees were disrupted.

“During the inquiry it was determined that no actual bomb was planted or bomb-making manufacturing took place,” Selfridge said Tuesday. “The calls were a hoax intended to evacuate the campus for a personal motive that will not be disclosed at this point.”

The investigation was a cooperative venture working with the NMCC staff.

Terrorizing is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Leighton’s arraignment will take place Dec. 18 in Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou.

Presque Isle police Sgt. Laurie Kelly, Officers Lynn Hartley and Peter Johnson, Detective Bill Scull and Selfridge participated in the investigations.

The Presque Isle Fire Department and Maine State Police bomb dog team were called in on both occasions.

Selfridge said restitution for the response to the threats and loss of two days of school will be requested and may amount to tens of thousands of dollars. He noted that the department has received numerous calls from parents of NMCC students attending school from downstate, inquiring about the safety of their children.

Officials at NMCC said they were pleased the alleged perpetrator had been caught.

“The bomb threats NMCC has experienced in the past few weeks have been disruptive for all aspects of the college community,” officials said in a statement. “These threats have caused considerable interruption of classes, to the lives of students who sacrifice to attend classes, to the faculty and staff who work diligently to meet the needs of our students and to the college.”

College officials expressed appreciation to the Presque Isle Police Department and Maine State Police, and credited the NMCC faculty and staff for their work dealing with the situations.

“Now that an individual has been charged with and confessed to the bomb scares, we will ask that this serious crime be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and cooperate fully with law enforcement officials toward that end,” officials said Tuesday.

jlynds@bangordailynews.net

538-6567

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