Niagara Gazette — A 15-year-old Niagara Falls High School student who was looking for a “day off” has been arrested and charged with making the bomb threats that locked-down schools in the Falls and Lewiston.
Falls School District officials said the teen can expect a lot of days off now because he has been placed on a superintendent’s suspension pending the outcome of his criminal case.
The arrest was announced late Wednesday afternoon by Niagara Falls Police and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office who conducted a joint investigation into the bomb threat.
“A male caller called into our 911 center and reported that a bomb would go off at Niagara-Wheatfield High School and Niagara Falls High School,” Sheriff Jim Voutour said. “We took that very seriously and launched a joint investigation.”
It took Falls Police Juvenile Division Detective Lorrie Alvarez and Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Brian Schell just over 48 hours to trace the call and arrest the 15-year-old suspect. The teen is not being identified because he is not being charged as an adult.
“He was interviewed and described what happened as ‘a prank gone bad’,” Falls Deputy Police Superintendent Kelly Rizzo said.
The teen is charged with first-degree falsely reporting an incident and will appear in Family Court to answer the charge.
Niagara County prosecutors and law enforcement officials said a recent change in state law kept them from placing a more serious charge against the teen.
“We’re not charging him as an adult because (this crime) doesn’t qualify for that,” Rizzo said.
District Attorney Michael Violante said if the law had not been changed he would have taken a hard line with the teen because of the “serious nature of his crime.”
“I made it plain, that if we charged him, there would be no plea (deal),” the DA said. “But the proper jurisdiction for this is Family Court and he could still face some (juvenile jail) time.”