CANTON (WWJ) – A 17-year-old boy is being held on a $250,000 cash bond, charged in connection with graffitied threats against Canton and Salem High Schools.
According to Canton police, an investigation began last week when students at both schools reported discovering the threats, which were written on bathrooms walls in both buildings. As a result, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park was placed on a “soft lockdown” and students at Plymouth, Canton and Salem High Schools, which share a campus, were released early for the day.
Following an investigation, which found the threats not to be credible, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office issued criminal charges against the alleged culprit, Brendan James Sibel.
Police said the teen admitted to making the threats, telling investigators he just hoped to get a day off school.
Sibel was arraigned in 35th District Court Wednesday on two counts of Terrorism Threat, a 20-year felony, and two counts of Bomb Threat, a 4-year felony.
“We are evaluating these very serious cases on an individual basis. In this case, we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt alleged bomb and terrorism threats,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, in a statement. “We urge anyone that has any information on any potential school threat case to notify law enforcement immediately.”
Sibel was ordered held on a $250,000, no 10 percent bond, which 35th District Court Judge Ronald Lowe was asked to lower at a hearing Thursday afternoon.
As Sibel stood in handcuffs, defense attorney David Nacht argued that the public does not need to be afraid of his client, adding: “He is accused of, and has admitted to, acting like a stupid jerk, and for his own personal selfish purposes. That’s different from really wanting to cause harm.”
Calling this a case of “felony stupid,” Lowe refused to reduce the bond, noting that Sibel was already on probation for a drug charge. If Sibel does post bond, he will be released to house arrest, must wear a GPS tether, and have no access to firearms.
He is due back in court for a probable cause hearing next week.
Amid a string of similar incidents across metro Detroit, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Superintendent Monica Merritt also wants to make it clear to students that this isn’t a joke.
“Threats made against our schools, regardless of intent, will not be tolerated. Any threats to the safety of our students and staff will be taken seriously, and those deemed responsible will be held accountable,” Merritt said, in a statement. “We recognize what makes our high school campus so unique as ‘Three Schools, One Park’ also presents some unique challenges… but we have an incredible community, and together we will ensure that P-CCS remains a safe learning environment for all.”
Deputy Director of Canton Police Chad Baugh said he applauds “the very responsible students” who spoke up in this case.
Students anywhere in Michigan can make confidential tips to state authorities through an app, text message, email or the OK2Say website. [Get details here]. Tips are screened by staff at the Michigan State Police and shared with schools and local police.
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