BCI assists in tracking online school threats

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation helped Scioto County law enforcement officials arrest a 16-year-old on charges of inducing panic and making a terroristic threat.

Early in the evening Feb. 21 the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth Police Department, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the New Boston Police Department received calls from concerned parents about a social media post from a Snapchat account in the name of Brie Savage. The post stated that New Boston, Portsmouth, Clay, West and Waverly schools “better watch out that someone was coming to shoot people at the schools.”

Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader asked for the assistance of BCI’s Cyber Crimes Unit and Criminal Intelligence Unit to help track where the threats were emanating from electronically. BCI personnel were able to trace back the Snapchat account to an address on State Route 23 in Portsmouth. Scioto County Sheriff’s Office detectives along with the Portsmouth Police Department responded to this location 1:40 a.m. where two juveniles were detained for questioning as a result of this investigation.

In addition, other information BCI gathered last night in the investigation was given to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office for help in a separate investigation of school safety threats.

“We all take the safety of our students very seriously,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “Through the quick work of our cyber analysts, we were able to get critical information to local law enforcement that helped them make an arrest, and avoid a potentially terrible situation. I want to take this opportunity to remind law enforcement across Ohio that BCI is available 24-7 to help with cases like this when requested by local law enforcement.”

The juvenile faces five total counts.

“I would like to thank BCI for the quick response,” said Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini. “They helped lead us to the location where the threats were coming from and we were able to make arrests early this morning before anything terrible happened.”