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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Holland teenagers faces charges for web threats

CAREY - A 15-year-old Holland boy has been arrested and charged with sending two messages over the Internet threatening violence at Carey High School.

Ben West was picked up Monday night at a rural Upper Sandusky home by Wyandot County Sheriff Michael Hetzel. The teenager was taken to the Marion County juvenile detention facility after being interviewed by sheriff's deputies and Carey police officers.

A hearing for the boy was held yesterday afternoon, but Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Aubry refused to release any information.

Authorities said the teen was at the home, where his girlfriend lives, Sunday night when he allegedly used a computer to go online through an America Online Internet account.

Carey police Chief Dennis Yingling said the boy sent messages to two Carey High School students threatening violence at the school Thursday.

“The threat was, `Tell all your friends that death is coming at 2:10 Thursday. If I were you, I wouldn't go to school that day,'” Chief Yingling said.

The father of one of the recipients is a Carey school board member. The family of the other recipient, a Carey resident whose mother is a district schoolteacher, alerted police, the chief said.

“They called and complained to us,” he said. “You just can't ignore any information like that. You have to act on it.”

The boy acknowledged sending the messages, telling authorities he meant them as a joke, Chief Yingling said.

“He cooperated - give him credit for this - he admitted it, he cooperated with us, and he apologized for it,” the chief said. “Which is better than not cooperating and lying about it and not being sorry for it. He was afraid of being in trouble about it ... and indeed, he is in trouble for it, because you just can't transmit those kinds of threats over that medium and expect to get away with it.”

Sheriff Hetzel and Chief Yingling said no additional security measures were taken at the school because of the threat.

“He was apprehended, he admitted it, and there's no reason for any further alarm,” Chief Yingling said.

In recent years, law enforcement agencies have taken threats of school violence seriously.

Two years ago in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, an 18-year-old youth was sentenced to 90 days in jail for posting a bomb threat on the Internet at the two Sylvania high schools.



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