Arrests made in connection to bomb threats

PHILIPPI – Two juveniles were arrested Monday in connection with a pair of unrelated bomb threats at Philip Barbour High School, officials said.

The most recent threat, made Monday, prompted yet another evacuation and spurred the arrest of a 17-year-old PBHS student. The juvenile was charged with making a false bomb threat and was arraigned by a Barbour County magistrate late Monday.

Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters said in a press release that officials were notified at 11:25 a.m. that “a bomb threat had been found inside the building.”

By 12:45 p.m., Barbour County Superintendent of School Joe Supper said the building had been cleared and students were back in their classrooms.

“Nothing was found in our investigation, but part of it is still going on,” Super said.

“We have had students taken from the building in handcuffs,” Super added late Monday during a Board of Education meeting. “One of those basically was at the time the buses were leaving. I think that sends a very strong message to students that we’re not messing around.”

Walters said Monday a second arrest was made, this one involving Thursday’s bomb threat at the high school. The chief said the two incidents are believed to be unrelated.

Board member Joanne McConnell aired concern over the recent threats at Monday’s board meeting, asking Super to address possible consequences for those involved.

“It’s a terrorist threat,” Super said. “We are going to be asking the authorities to exact the full measure of the law that they can. I will be asking that restitution be made, financial restitution be made, for all the man hours that were lost for any agency that responded. I will be asking for financial restitution for the hours of instruction that were lost.

“We can go up there and we can talk to students until we’re blue in the face, and I don’t have any problem doing that,” Super added. “Will it help? Hopefully it will, but I think that one of the biggest deterrents, I know it would be, is seeing a classmate of mine hauled out in handcuffs. That’s what the authorities are doing. They are not messing, they’ve had it. Our student population, I would say 99.99 percent of them, are fed up with this.”

The Philippi Police Department, Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and the Philippi Detachment of the West Virginia State Police all responded to Monday’s threat.