Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Grandmother finds makeshift bombs in teenager's room

Deputies charged a 17-year-old Hudson High School student with possession of a hoax bomb and making a destructive device after his grandmother found some rigged shell casings in his backpack.

The youth, who is not being named due to his age, was arrested by Pasco County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday night and charged with two second-degree felonies. An arrest report states the boy is in the Army JROTC program at his school and aspires to join the Marines.

The report gave the following account:

The youth's grandmother and guardian contacted deputies after she found bullet casings in her grandson's backpack, and something that looked like an explosive or grenade with two wicks coming out of it in a gym bag in his room.

The grandmother said that lately her grandson has been argumentative and disrespectful and recently threatened to shoot her and her husband, if he had access to a gun.

Deputies arrived, called the bomb squad, evacuated the house and put up a perimeter. The black device turned out to be a small Nerf football wrapped in electrical tape with the tops of bottle rockets attached to it. The spent shell casings were in a plastic bag and also stuffed with the firework portion of bottle rockets. One deputy said the casings could be considered "crickets," a destructive device that could explode with shrapnel.

Deputies said the young man admitted he built the items. He said he was bored and planned to detonate the items in his back yard, but he denied taking them to school. He also denied using any literature or visiting any websites for information on the bombs.

Deputies interviewed the grandmother and searched the teenager's Internet history for signs of idealistic leanings or destructive behavior, but investigators found nothing.

Deputies transported the young man to the Juvenile Assessment Center at the Land O'Lakes county jail. A sheriff's spokesperson said it is up to the State Attorney's Office whether to charge the youth as an adult.

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