EDISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities on Tuesday charged a 16-year-old New Jersey high school student with possession of explosive devices, after police said they discovered a cache of homemade bombs and explosives in his home in Edison Township.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, officers investigating recent bomb threats at Edison High School, at 50 Boulevard of the Eagles in Edison, raided the student’s home after receiving a tip.
Investigators said the stockpile included several gunpowder-packed carbon dioxide cartridge bombs with fuses attached as well as fireworks and disassembled shotgun shells which can be packed with pellets and used as shrapnel in an explosive device.
“It’s still an investigation. We don’t have any definitive evidence to suggest that he was putting a plan together or he was actively going to do anything at this point,” Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.
Still, some students at the school had the jitters in the wake of the arrest.
“I’m honestly scared to be in school,” sophomore Michelle O’Brien said. “We’re getting more security, we’re getting more police, we’re getting as much help as we can.”
“After everything, especially with the Boston massacre, you don’t want that happening at a school,” junior Erin Kupst said. “People are freaking out.”
“Because I’m 16, I find it pretty crazy that someone my age could be dong his in his own house,” added sophomore Brianna Lassiter.
The school has been evacuated four times in the last two weeks.
Based on a tip, Edison police went to the home on Harmon Road where the teen lived with his grandfather.
Police were led to the explosives after notes were found at the school two weeks ago threatening a bomb would go off at the school. Altogether, at least five bomb threats have forced evacuations at schools across Passaic and Middlesex counties.
Edison police are trying to figure out if the two are linked, but said at this point there is nothing to prove the teen made the threats, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“I mean in light of Boston, It’s a little scary, but he didn’t look like there was anything off about him, or didn’t have any friends, or anything like that,” a woman who lives down the street from the teen said.
Another woman said the charges were much ado about nothing.
“I think the whole thing is blown out of proportion,” she said, “and I really think that kid is harmless and likes fireworks and thinks that…I don’t think his plan was to hurt anybody.”
Bryan said the case could indeed be a case of a misguided teen making his own fireworks, but that is still very dangerous.
Schools superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley released a statement Tuesday ensuring the safety of students and staff:
“We are committed to the safety and security of the Edison Township School District. As much as I would like the opportunity to provide more details, I am prohibited from doing so as a result of the ongoing police investigation and the fact that this is a student matter. We continue to take every step necessary to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
The boy was released to a family member. His name was not released because he is a juvenile.
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