County police charge Centennial High senior in series of bomb threats at three schools

February 23, 1997|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Howard County police have arrested a 17-year-old Centennial High School senior and charged him with making at least 10 bomb threats over the past year.

The Ellicott City youth is believed to be responsible for a series of threats that were made at Centennial Lane Elementary School, Burleigh Manor Middle School and Centennial High School since January 1996, said county police Sgt. Steven Keller.

Police are continuing their investigation and other arrests are possible, Keller said. The Centennial senior -- who was not identified by police because of his age -- was arrested Monday.

Superintendent Michael E. Hickey told the school board last week that "in all likelihood, we will expel them [students who are arrested] from the school system."

"It is really a very serious problem," Hickey said. He said police made the arrest "partly through the help of other students."

Keller, who declined to give any additional details of what he termed a continuing investigation, said he was not yet aware of the motive for the threats.

Some of the bomb threats were made in early-morning telephone calls to the schools, while others were contained in letters left at the schools, also early in the morning, Keller said.

The schools were evacuated -- or the start of classes delayed -- while police searched for bombs in response to at least some of the threats, Keller said.

"As far as I know, all of the threats were treated seriously," he said. No bombs were found in any of the schools. The most recent threat came Jan. 29.

This is the second time in the past three years that Howard police have arrested a Centennial senior in bomb threats against Ellicott City schools.

In 1995, a juvenile was arrested for placing computer-printed bomb threats on school doors. Police said the senior made the threats to miss tests for which he was not prepared.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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