Canadian teen held in Mississippi after police say he called in bomb threat

Published 9:12 pm Sunday, April 25, 2021

A 15-year-old youth from Canada has been arrested in Louisiana on a charge accusing him of making a phony bomb threat to an Ivy League university in New Jersey, prompting evacuation of four buildings.

A May 3 hearing is scheduled to decide whether the teen, whose name was not released because of his age, can be sent to Mercer County, New Jersey, to face a criminal count of second-degree false public alarm, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The parish doesn’t have a juvenile detention facility, so the teen from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is being held in Mississippi, St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. told the newspaper.

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Princeton’s art museum, chapel, main library and Nassau Hall were evacuated Sept. 19 because of the call naming them, according to a university alert.

Officials said they identified the youth as a suspect last month after a multiagency investigation spanning two countries and jurisdictions stretching from the central and western Canadian cities of Saskatoon and Edmonton, to the U.S. East Coast and Louisiana.

Martin said deputies arrested the boy without incident March 24 at his grandparents’ house in rural South Vacherie, a community between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“The grandparents didn’t even know why we were there,” Martin said Thursday. “Obviously, you could see that they were upset over it, but you know they did not know the kid was in some trouble.”

Martin couldn’t say why the youth was visiting relatives or how long he had been in South Vacherie.

University police had signed a juvenile petition for the teen’s arrest, Casey A. DeBlasio, spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, said Friday.