PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - After 11 months, police have wrapped up a massive case involving bomb threats that were called in to schools around the country. A teen suspect pleaded guilty to 11 charges.
There were subsequent bomb threat calls handled by central dispatch made over the course of the following week, which were directed at both Harvey High School and Riverside High School.
The investigation, which was primarily conducted by Painesville Police with assistance from the Lake County Sheriff's Office, revealed the threats were made by a 17-year-old from Painesville Township. The investigation showed the juvenile had been conducting these threats using Internet methods to try to conceal his identity and location.
The sheriff's office says he ultimately admitted to placing more than 100 of these bomb threats and swatting calls to schools and other locations nationwide, as well as Canada. Swatting is falsely reporting a serious threat or situation to police in an attempt to elicit a SWAT team response.
As a result of this investigation, law enforcement agencies were able to learn how he was using the Internet to do these crimes from his home and now are able to investigate future incidents from a more informed perspective.
According to the sheriff's office, the teen pleaded guilty to 11 charges related to these bomb threats and swatting incidents. Four of those charges related to bomb threats forced schools to be evacuated in Painesville, Strongsville, Fort Myers, FL and Naugatuck, CT.
There were additional charges related to the swatting of private residences in both Plymouth, MA and South Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. The charges include inducing panic, making false alarms, extortion, coercion, telecommunications harassment and discharging a firearm.
On Wednesday, Judge Karen Lawson sentenced the teen to five years at the Ohio Department of Youth Services or until his 21st birthday, plus the court-ordered stay of a 13-year prison term with the Ohio Department of Corrections. He was classified as a serious youthful offender on six of those counts.
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