The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 24, 2013

Two students arrested in Sunbury for allegedly making online threats

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Two students were arrested Wednesday after allegedly participating in an online threat to blow up the Five Star Treatment School.

According to a vague press release distributed by Police Chief Steve Mazzeo, Sunbury police arrested an 18-year-old and a juvenile after being contacted by the school that a social media threat was made.

Mazzeo said the 18-year-old appeared before District Judge Ben Apfelbaum, who placed the teen in the Northumberland County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail. The juvenile, Mazzeo said, was placed in Northumberland County detention by county juvenile probation.

Mazzeo never mentioned what charges were filed, but Apfelbaum, who was reached after hours, said one of the charges was for making terroristic threats.

Mazzeo concluded his press release by writing, “There is no longer a credible threat to the public at this time.”

The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Montandon, operates the Five Star Treatment School, which was established in 2004.

At about 1 p.m. police were summoned to Five Star after school officials learned of a serious “social media threat” directed at the school, CSIU spokeswoman Jennifer Spotts said.

“We were informed of the threat toward the school,” Spotts said. “We took immediate action and followed protocol and informed police.”

Spotts said the threat allegedly was made on the Internet before school had started, and on Wednesdays, students are in class only for half a day.

Students with disabilities from Valley school districts attend Five Star, which offers full-time classes for those with behavioral and social-emotional needs.

Sunbury police and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit were about to enter the building at about 1:15 p.m.

Mazzeo did not release the name of the 18-year-old in his press release. He did write that Sunbury police worked with Line Mountain and Shikellamy school districts, Zerbe Township police, state police and K-9 units from sheriff’s departments from Union and Lancaster counties.

The Sunbury K-9 department also responded.

Spotts said there are 25 employees and 45 students who attend the school.

The staff did a great job of ensuring the safety of all students, she said.

Mazzeo did not return calls for comment on what the “credible” threat was to the public.

Sources close to Five Star said the Line Mountain School District had discovered the social media threat and contacted state police to investigate.