EAST LONGMEADOW -- Police arrested a 14-year-old juvenile and will seek a warrant for the arrest of a 17-year-old in Washington State for their alleged involvement in a bomb threat made Wednesday afternoon at Birchland Middle School.
Sgt. Patrick Manley said the 17-year-old, who lives in Issaquah, Washington, made the call on behalf of the 14-year-old, a student at Birchland. The two suspects apparently developed a friendship through online video gaming.
The incident began shortly after 2 p.m., at about the time the school typically lets out. Manley said the 17-year-old allegedly called the school from Washington and said there was a bomb in the school and that "everybody is going to die."
At Birchland buses that were already waiting for students moved to an empty lot a block away, and students marched there to board their bus for the ride home, Manley said.
East Longmeadow police quickly unraveled their case after receiving a call from a parent of the 14-year-old who had viewed text messages on her son’s phone.
After that, police, working with town information technology personnel and Verizon, were able to receive a record of the phone call from Washington state, despite the fact that the teen had attempted to use a feature blocking caller ID.
A parent of the 17-year-old also verified the call information, Manley said. The Kings County Sheriff’s Department in Washington State worked the investigation on that end and went to the suspect's home.
The parents of both suspects have been cooperative, Manley said.
Manley said police will seek a warrant for the arrest of the 17-year-old, who is legally an adult. "As far as we are concerned he is not off the hook because he lives in Washington," Manley said. "He will be charged locally."
It will be up to Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni to determine whether or not to seek extradition of the suspect here, Manley said.
Mastroianni told The Republican on Wednesday that when someone responsible for such calls is found out, his office always prosecutes.
In an unrelated incident, a note threatening violence was found in a bathroom at Northampton High School Wednesday afternoon.
The threats were part of a number made throughout the region in wake of the shooting that claimed the lives of 20 pupils and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
In both Northampton and East Longmeadow, police and firefighters responded to the scene, and each building was thoroughly searched by emergency personnel before the threats were considered false.
Manley said he is pleased the case was resolved so quickly. “It’s nice to have it resolved for the community. It’s good for the community to feel safe,” he said.
Manley said Wednesday’s incident is not the first time they have investigated the cross-country friends. The 17-year-old, in the recent past, allegedly made annoying phone calls to local residents at the behest of the 14-year-old.Source