VALPARAISO — The 16-year-old Ohio boy brought to Porter County over the weekend to face charges of creating panic and disruption at several area schools had falsely portrayed himself as a special agent with the FBI, a newly filed court document reveals.
The teen, whom The Times is not naming as long as his case remains in juvenile court, is charged with impersonating a public servant stemming from a Jan. 4 call to Valparaiso police of a supposed shooting, according to a charging document.
He is further charged with two counts of intimidation, which would be felonies in adult court, in relation to threats he allegedly made to several area schools earlier this year.
The Porter County prosecutor's office filed a petition Monday seeking to waive the case to adult court, arguing the alleged acts were "heinous or aggravated" and that the teen is "beyond rehabilitation under the juvenile justice system."
"It is in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the community that the child stand trial as an adult," the waiver petition reads.
The intimidation charges claim that on Jan. 26, the teen "threatened to use a weapon or weapons of mass destruction to commit mass murder" at Valparaiso and Portage high schools.
Porter County Deputy Prosecutor John Shanahan has said the teen began Jan. 4 by calling Valparaiso police and falsely reporting that someone had been shot in the city. He then allegedly contacted Valparaiso High School on Jan. 9 and reported a bomb in the building, and then called in another threat to the school Jan. 17.
On Jan. 26, the youth called in threats to schools in Valparaiso, Portage, Hobart and Wheeler, Shanahan said.
The teen, who turns 17 Wednesday, is being housed at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center and made an initial appearance in juvenile court Monday morning.
A determination was made Monday that he poses a threat and will remain in custody at the juvenile center, Shanahan said.
An initial hearing on the charges will be held Monday, Shanahan said. A hearing will also be scheduled that day on the waiver request.
The teen was arrested Jan. 26 in Ohio, and all the threats he is accused of making proved to be noncredible, officials have said. But the threats sent schools scrambling into lockdown or lockout status.
The Jan. 9 call to Valparaiso High School resulted in a lockdown and early release of students, police said. A false threat of violence Jan. 17 at the same school triggered a lockout response from police and disrupted school operations.
The Portage Police Department said in a social media post at the time that the local high school had "received an anonymous phone call in which a person threatened violence later in the day," prompting its lockdown.
Hobart police said the caller didn't specify a school in the threat there, "but erring on the side of caution, Superintendent (Peggy) Buffington ordered the schools to be locked down."
Wheeler High School had implemented a lockout, officials said.
Gallery: Recent arrests booked into the Porter County Jail
Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter
Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.