Bellevue bomb threat suspect found in Pennsylvania

BELLEVUE The man who threatened to blow up Bellevue Schools Oct. 24 was identified Monday and will l
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

BELLEVUE

The man who threatened to blow up Bellevue Schools Oct. 24 was identified Monday and will likely be charged today, Bellevue police said Monday afternoon.

Police wouldn't release the suspect's name or address, but said he is an 18-year-old male who lives in Nanty Glo, Pa.

Bellevue officers believe the suspect posted an anonymous threat at 11:57 p.m. Oct. 23 on the Sandusky Register Web site.

The message was posted in the comments section of a story about an Oct. 23 school-shooting training simulation at Bellevue High School.

Sandusky Register editorial page editor Don Lee called police at about 4:57 a.m. the next morning after spotting the threat.

Investigators identified the suspect Monday after reviewing evidence Sandusky police subpoenaed from computer records, Bellevue police said.

Bellevue officers visited the suspect's home Monday afternoon, and he confessed to posting the threatening message, according to reports.

"He told (Bellevue police officers), 'I've been waiting for you guys,'" Bellevue police Capt. Mark Brooks said.

Police said the suspect knew students from Bellevue High School with whom he played video games online using his X-Box or X-Box 360 gaming system.

The suspect apparently learned about the Bellevue school-shooting training story through his friends, according to Brooks.

"He played X-Box with a bunch of buddies here," he said. "He was horsing around and thought it would be pretty funny."

Brooks said the suspect knew police were looking for him after reading online stories about the bomb threat investigation.

Bellevue police plan to discuss possible charges for the suspect this afternoon and tomorrow morning with Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt. Charges should be issued tomorrow, and the suspect and his parents promised police he'd turn himself in.

"They said they're interested in making it right," Brooks said. "They guaranteed he'd make an appearance."

Sandusky county prosecutor Tom Stierwalt said previously that the person or persons involved in the threat could receive felony charges from local prosecutors or even federal charges from the FBI.

Those felony charges could result in a maximum of five years in prison.

Bellevue superintendent Stephen Schumm promised the district would seek the maximum penalty the law allows against the suspect.

"We're going to aggressively do what we can within the outline of the law to prosecute him to the fullest," he said.

Schumm said it costs Bellevue Schools about $65,000 per day to operate.

But since the Ohio Board of Education requires the district to make up the missed school day, Schumm isn't sure how much money the threat cost the district.

"It affected all the policemen and everybody else," he said. "It probably cost as much or more outside the district as it did inside."

Brooks thanked the Sandusky police detective bureau and the FBI for their help in solving this case.