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Cedar Creek student had chemicals at home that could be used for bomb, police charge

Cedar Creek student had chemicals at home that could be used for bomb, police charge

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Galloway Township police arrested a Cedar Creek High School student on charges of having chemicals at his home that could be made into a bomb.

School administrators contacted the township Police Department at 2 p.m. Tuesday informing them a student “demonstrated behavior that caused them to be concerned,” police said in a release.

Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Superintendent, Steve Ciccariello, said that his teacher saw hand-drawn pictures of what appeared to be weapons in his notebook.

Investigators from the department and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office went to the 16-year-old boy’s residence on East Spencer Lane and found several items, including electronic parts and several types of chemicals that when mixed together could cause an explosion, police said. The student was charged with possession of a weapon, an explosive device, and was placed in Harborfields Detention Center, police said.

A sweep of the school using bomb sniffing dogs was done as a precaution. Nothing was located.

On Wednesday morning, Ciccariello said that at Cedar Creek High School was "business as usual."

Cedar Creek opened in September 2010 as a magnet school with programs focusing on engineering and environmental sciences and specializing in hands-on learning.

He praised the teacher for reporting the drawings in the notebook.

"In reality, we followed what we're trained to follow," he said. "I'm thankful that we had a staff member that (saw something that) caused her some concern, and that she had the sense to report it to school officials. These are things that teachers receive training on all the time."

Ciccariello said that the student was not in conflict with anyone, but could not discuss his disciplinary record.

"I wouldn't expect this type of behavior," he said.

Police Chief Pat Moran stressed Tuesday night no threats were made by the student and there was no indication there was any danger posed to anyone or property at the school.

“There was no indication he was making a bomb, or using a bomb or detonating a bomb,” he said.

Moran said the family and the student cooperated with the department during the investigation.

He added the school and department conducted a good cooperative effort.

The Atlantic City Police Department’s Bomb Squad assisted along with the Oceanville fire department and Galloway EMS.

Egg Harbor City police along with K9s from the Hamilton Township Police Department, Atlantic City Police Department, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Millville Police Department and Salem County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the search, police said.

Ciccariello said he thinks, with the shooting in Connecticut last week, the community is more alert to potential threats.

"I'll say that, regardless of the incident last week, we would have handled this exactly the same way," he said.

It is clear that the area is taking all threats seriously. Ciccariello said there was an increased police presence at Absegami High School Wednesday morning after police got a report of a rumor of a hit list circulating on Facebook.

He said that no such list has been found and that there is no threat to anyone in the Absegami community.

A 15-year-old girl was arrested at Mainland Regional High School and charged with false public alarm after she allegedly sent a text message to a friend stating that she had heard a rumor that there would be a shooting at the school on Friday.

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