Two 10-year-olds and a 13-year-old have been arrested in connection with a recent string of school bomb threats in Bristol, Connecticut, according to Mayor Ken Cockayne. All three are students in the school system and will be expelled for at least a year.
According to police, the 10-year-olds are female students at the Edgewood and Stafford schools and allegedly made threats at the schools they attend. Police said they both confessed and have been charged with falsely reporting an incident, first-degree threatening, second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace.
Eight bomb scares have been reported in the school system over the course of nine days.
The latest threat occurred at the Greene-Hill School for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Police arrived at the scene around 3 p.m. on Thursday and said the bomb threat was found in a girls' bathroom.
No arrests have been made in connection with that threat, but police said they're following leads.
"Those individuals are going to be charged with four different charges," Bristol Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi said during a public forum on Thursday night. "Two of the charges will be felony charges, two will be misdemeanors."
Authorities said the school bomb threats have been taxing emergency resources.
"This is costing us a minimum of $40,000 per call, between fire, police (and) ambulance," Cockayne said. "It's taking away from other emergencies. We have a fire truck sitting here that could be responding to another call somewhere."
At the forum on Thursday night, Grimaldi said the town is stepping up security measures.
"All of our schools have additional security implemented ... including additional surveillance by police and by video camera, and other individuals in the school," Grimaldi explained.
The first suspect to be arrested, a 13-year-old, was charged in connection with a Wednesday evening bomb threat at Stafford Elementary School, where the teen is a student.
Students were sent home early during the initial six incidents, but on Thursday, the policy changed.
As police checked the Edgewood School on Thursday, students waited out in the rain at the nearby Giamatti Little League Complex before being allowed back in.
"It just started off as a normal day," second-grader Dontay Arnold said.
When asked if he felt any differently about it after he found out it was a bomb threat, Arnold said, "My stomach hurt. That's all I can say."
The threats started on May 27 at Bristol Central High School. According to the principal, a student found a message on a desk that said a bomb would go off that morning.
Two days later, Bristol Eastern High School received a bomb threat. A female student received a text from a number she did not recognize and reported it, according to police.
On Tuesday of this week, police responded to Northeast Middle School after a student found a note that said a bomb would go off.
Authorities responded to three more bomb threats on Wednesday, sending officers to Chippens Hill Middle School, St. Paul Catholic High School and Stafford Elementary School.
During a news conference Wednesday evening, police said they are looking to file charges that involve terrorism.
"This is just copycat kids, that’s all it is," Cockayne said. "They’re seeing that they get a day off from school by putting something out there."
The first student to be arrested was a 13-year-old suspected in the Chippens Hill Middle School threat.
That student has been charged with first-degree false reporting and first-degree threatening, both felonies, as well as second-degree breach of peach and second-degree reckless endangerment.
The city of Bristol is offering a reward of $1,000 per arrest and conviction of any individual involved in the sequence of bomb threats at city schools.
"From my mayor's office, I am saying prosecute fully," Cockayne said. "We will also seek restitution."