5 Teens Arrested In Case Of Smoke Bombs That Prompted Evacuations At N.J. High School

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 8:04 pm
By: News On 6

TOTOWA, N.J. (AP) _ Five recent high school graduates were charged Wednesday in connection with pyrotechnic devices planted at their school that caused its evacuation one day before the start of final exams.

About 1,400 students were evacuated June 13 after the devices, described by officials as consisting of several smoke bombs taped together, were found in lockers. Finals resumed at the school, about 20 miles northwest of New York City, the day after the evacuation.

The former students, all males ages 17 to 19, were taken into custody late Tuesday and early Wednesday, said Chief Assistant Prosecutor James Wilson.

They face charges including attempted aggravated arson, possession of weapons for an unlawful purpose, and attempting to cause widespread injury or damage. They also face burglary charges for entering the school, he said.

The burglary counts carry up to five years in prison, and the other charges carry up to 10 years in prison. Three who were charged as adults were freed after posting $50,000 bail; the juveniles were detained pending release to their parents, Wilson said.

The devices were found after a student noticed their fuses hanging from a locker. A county task force identified suspects by watching hundreds of hours of surveillance video.

The school does not plan to act against the students because they have already received their diplomas, said Superintendent Maria Nuccetelli.