South Kitsap students arrested after bomb found

Two South Kitsap High School students were charged with abandonment of an explosive device after a makeshift bomb was found unexploded on the Cedar Heights Junior High School field last weekend by a jogger.

According to Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend, the 17-year-olds were arrested Wednesday after officers questioned a third student whose name was etched on a ceramic vase that contained the bomb.

The teen told officers he gave the vase to the suspects.

Although the bomb did not explode, Townsend said the device — a mixture of gasoline and gun powder attached to a fuse — could have done moderate damage to a nearby goal post and field turf, but no one else was around at the late hour the device was placed.

“They were out there at like 2 a.m., so it was basically just them out there at the time,” he said. “It’s more likely that they would have hurt themselves. The bad thing is when it didn’t go off, they left it there for somebody else to come by.”

Townsend said the teens were booked on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing an explosive device, a B-felony. However, deputy prosecutor for Kitsap County’s Juvenile Division Todd Dowell said after the evidence was evaluated, the teens were charfeds with abandonment of an explosive device, a gross misdemeanor.

Dowell said to be charged with the felony, the explosive device made by the suspects would have had to be used for an unlawful purpose and contain certain explosive items and quantities, which could not be determined due to the condition of the device.

“My understanding is these kids took the item out to the the field to watch it ignite and not necessarily hurt anyone,” he said, adding that his office was unable to determine if the device was a viable explosive.

Dowell said the teens’ case have been diverted out of court and neither had any prior offenses.

According to the police department, the teens were “emergency expelled” from the high school. School district spokeswoman Aimee Warthen said the teens are not currently attending classes, but their case was still under investigation and that the school would not decide on any disciplinary action until after the investigation was complete.

Following an unrelated incident last month, one of two 16-year-old South Kitsap High School students was found guilty of felony malicious mischief after a photo published in local newspapers prompted a rash of calls identifying two graffiti artists caught on tape at East Port Orchard Elementary School Aug. 14.

The first teen was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 24 hours of community service. He also served a five-day detention period which ended before classes began at the high school. Administrators at the high school said both were enrolled and attending classes.

“If he abides by his probation and keeps his nose clean, his case will be dismissed,” said Kitsap County Chief Prosecutor Greg Hubbard.

Hubbard said the teen was previously charged with throwing eggs at a school bus within the last two months.

The teens’ crimes were considered malicious mischief in the second degree — a C-felony — because the damage was more than $250. A South Kitsap School District employee estimated the cost of repainting and other repairs at $633.39.

Hubbard said the second teen was released into court-approved placement, and the two have been ordered to have no contact. His hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 11.

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