"An officer was making rounds and noticed something suspicious near the AT&T building," Castalia police Chief Ken Majoy said.
The suspicious items turned out to be two "bombs, for lack of a better word," he said.
"We had to shut down Depot Street and we contacted the Lorain County Bomb Squad."
The two devices were 2-litre coke bottles with common household chemicals and wadded balls of aluminum foil added. Once the items are placed together in the bottles and capped, the chemical reaction causes them to expand and explode.
"It can make a very loud sound, like an M-80 firecracker, but we were more concerned with where they had placed them."
The devices were near a gas meter and the phone company building and police and firefighters used thermal imaging gear to determine the chemicals and the aluminum had been mixed, Majoy said, "which meant it was active."
The gas line was turned off, and after confirming with the bomb squad the method to disarm the bombs, officers used a pellet gun to shoot each bottle four times, disengaging the bombs. The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called and assisted in processing the scene.
Police appear to have been able to track the materials that were used — a toilet bowl cleaner, plastic coke bottles and aluminum foil — back to a local market and reviewed surveillance video from the store to identify suspects. .
Majoy said the juveniles might have thought it was a prank but didn't realize the potential danger.
"We had to take every precaution and treat it as if it may have been a terrorist attack," the chief said.
It will be up to the prosecutor what charges might be filed, Majoy said.