LAPORTE | Two 16-year-old boys were arrested for trying to carry out a plot to detonate a homemade explosive device near the carnival rides at the LaPorte County Fair, authorities said.
Officials stopped short of categorizing the alleged plot as an act of terror but said had it detonated the device could have injured people.
"It had the potential to be very powerful," said LaPorte County police Maj. John Boyd.
According to police, sheriff's deputies working security at the fair about 9 p.m. Thursday were alerted about a 16-year-old boy carrying a potential explosive device and received a similar 911 call from another individual.
Within seven minutes, officers located the individual described and found the explosive inside the backpack he was carrying, police said.
The explosive device was removed from the populated area of the fairgrounds and dismantled by members of the Porter County Bomb Squad, police said.
Officers, with help from investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined another 16-year-old boy made the explosive and soon that individual was taken into custody at his home.
Both suspects are from the LaPorte area, Boyd said.
Authorities were not revealing what the device was made of because the explosive is being held as evidence and must be kept confidential until after the prosecution of the cases is over.
Boyd did say, "This device had the potential to injure a number of people."
Police said it is not believed the boys were intent on injuring innocent bystanders, despite their plan to detonate the explosive near the carnival rides.
Instead, police said it appears the boys were out for a thrill.
"It was juveniles who didn't realize just how dangerous this device could have been," Boyd said.
Both boys were being held in the LaPorte County Juvenile Services Center.
One of the boys is charged with possession of a destructive device while the other juvenile was booked on manufacturing a destructive device, both Class C felonies.
The fair ended Saturday.
LaPorte County Fair Manager Gene Shurte said whether any security measures will be taken to try and prevent another similar reoccurrence during future fairs is not known.
That decision will hinge on the outcome of the police investigation, he said.
"I think this is just a changing world. Since 9/11 life in the United States will never be the same," Shurte said.