WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A 14-year-old boy was arrested and charged with phoning in a false bomb threat earlier this week to Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, Westchester County Police said.
The teen was arrested at his home following an investigation by detectives from the county police General Investigations Unit. In addition, the teen faces a similar charge from the Yorktown Police Department in connection with a bomb threat called in to Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak.
On Monday morning, March 31, separate calls were reportedly made to Walter Panas and Lakeland high schools claiming that the schools were going to “blow up.” Both schools were evacuated.
Members of the county police Hazardous Devices Unit, known more informally as the Bomb Squad, conducted a sweep of both schools, including using canines trained to identify explosive materials. Hazardous Devices Unit officers determined that it was safe for students and staff to return to both buildings.
"Incidents like these disrupt the education of students, cause concern among parents and others in the community, and divert police resources unnecessarily,” Commissioner George N. Longworth said in the release. “We will investigate these incidents vigorously and seek to apprehend those responsible.”
The teen was released to a parent with an appearance ticket requiring him to appear later this month in Westchester County Family Court. He was charged as a juvenile and his name will not be released.
The equivalent charge in the penal code for persons over 16 years of age would be first-degree falsely reporting an incident, which is a felony.