Detectives have tracked, identified and charged a 15-year-old boy from Brooklyn who placed a 911 call in which he threatened to blow up Lyndhurst High School, authorities said.
On Oct. 7, 2022, at approximately 11:52 a.m., the Lyndhurst Police Department was notified by county communications that an unknown caller using technology to anonymize his calling line identity placed a 911 call claiming there was a bomb inside Lyndhurst High School, at 400 Weart Ave. The 911dispatcher advised he had received a telephone call from a young male reporting there was a bomb inside the school.
Lyndhurst police officers were immediately dispatched to the scene and the Lyndhurst Board of Education action plan was put into place by the school staff, which meant a lockdown of approximately 825 students. Shortly thereafter, everyone was safely evacuated from the building.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad and certified bomb detection K-9 units were dispatched to the school. After a search of both the interior and exterior of the school, police did not find any kind of dangerous device on the premises.
During the initial moments of the incident, Special Law Enforcement Officer III William Peer, who had been assigned to Lyndhurst High School, noticed the presence of a young man casually walking in front of the school near the area of the gymnasium.
SLEO Peer did not recognize the boy and he also found it odd that he was not with the rest of the student-body. This prompted him to approach and address the young man. The boy provided his name and explained he was 15 and from Brooklyn.
The boy further explained he was in Lyndhurst to visit with a Lyndhurst High School student with whom he had recently met playing an online video game. SLEO Peer returned to assist with the school evacuation, but not before securing all of the boy’s pedigree information. An alert crossing guard also provided information that placed the boy in the area of Lyndhurst High School just prior to the bomb threat.
During the course of the investigation, detectives focused their attention on the 15-year old and they learned the day of the incident, he traveled to New Jersey by public transportation. He arrived in Lyndhurst around 11 a.m., where he met up with a group of Lyndhurst High School students. The students ultimately returned to school for the afternoon session and a short time later, the boy placed the 911 call while still within close proximity to the school.
Det. Tom McSweeney eventually confirmed the call was made by the boy with whom he eventually interviewed. The boy ultimately confessed to Det. McSweeney he made the bomb threat and he was subsequently charged with creating a false public alarm before being released to the custody of his father.
The Lyndhurst Police Department would like to thank the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department K-9 and Bomb Squad Units, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Cyber Crimes and Intelligence Units and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations Newark Field Office for their assistance in this investigation.
“We consider bomb threats to be very serious. The safety of our school and our community will always be our top priority,” Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri said. “We remain grateful for our strong working relationship with the Lyndhurst school district and we would like to thank the community for their support and understanding during the incident and their patience throughout the investigation.”
Chief Richard Jarvis echoed Auteri’s sentiments.
“Bomb threats are never amusing and they are never harmless,” Jarvis said. “We will never allow this behavior to stand. We will always track down the perpetrator and hold him or her accountable. We’re also grateful to SLEO Peer for his quick thinking and alertness. The SLEO program, though new, is working well and this is a great example of it in action.”
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.