LIBERTY – A 14-year-old Cochecton boy was arrested Saturday by Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputies for allegedly calling in a threat to harm people at Sullivan County BOCES. The threat, left on an answering machine at the school’s main office in Wierk Avenue in Liberty on Thursday evening, was discovered by staff Friday morning when they came to work.
The sheriff’s deputy assigned to BOCES as the school resource officer was notified and contacted all police agencies in the county because the threat did not specify a particular BOCES facility.
BOCES administration implemented their lockout procedure and then dismissed classes early with all students and staff leaving the facility by 12:30 p.m.
Sheriff Michael Schiff said his office, along with detectives from the Village of Liberty Police, consolidated their efforts Friday night with District Attorney James Farrell drawing up a search warrant.
Saturday morning detectives executed a search warrant at a residence on Tyler Road in the Town of Cochecton. Police seized computers, cell phones and a rifle, but the target of the investigation, the 14-yer-old, was not home at the time. He was staying with a relative in Liberty and was tracked down just before noon at the elementary school playground behind the Liberty Police station.
The youth, who police did not identify because of his age, was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with felonies of falsely reporting an incident and making a terroristic threat and the misdemeanor of aggravated harassment. He was released to his parents pending a future family court appearance.
Schiff said the suspect had attempted to use “fairly sophisticated techniques” to disguise his voice. The sheriff would not elaborate on how detectives overcame those obstacles.
He said investigators do not believe the youth ever intended to cause actual harm to anyone.