‘Popper’ stunt lands youths in trouble with law

Three youths who told police they were just playing with what they called “poppers” have been arrested following what police in turn called a poorly thought-out stunt.

Granville Police Officer William Holcomb arrested three 15-year-old juvenile males Saturday, whose names are not being released due to their age, after they ignited three homemade explosive devices in the woods behind the Granville Junior Senior High School.  

The chemical concoctions were set off just prior to the football game Saturday afternoon as the Golden Horde took on Class B’s Schalmont.

The devices were not precisely bombs ignited by a fuse, but a mixture of chemicals in a sealed container which produced enough pressure to rupture the two-liter soda bottle containers.

The chemical reaction, which takes place inside a plastic container, eventually produces enough pressure to rupture the container which in turn produces a loud bang and cloud of smoke or vapor.

Police believe the 15-year-olds found the recipe for the mixture on the Internet.

Of the teenage males charged one was from Granville, one Hartford and the other Argyle.

The three teens were charged with second-degree misdemeanor reckless endangerment and will be appearing in family court, Granville Village Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. said.

The device, made from commonly available household products, would have made noise but been largely harmless, Bassett said, and was not constructed of materials that would have produced any form of shrapnel.

Bassett asked that the exact nature of the device not be made public.

While the device itself appears to be largely harmless, Bassett said the decision to bring it onto school grounds, especially during an event which had a large crowd nearby was at least in part the reason an arrest was made in the case.

“If I was there and I thought there was somebody in the woods with a gun I would have had to evacuate the place until I knew it was safe,” he said.

Police said they did not think the device or its ignition was intended to interfere with the game.

The noises were initially thought to be fireworks in the wooded area near the high school occurred just after noon as spectators were beginning to arrive for a home football game at Sam Eppolito Field.

Police were dispatched to the wooded area between Mountainview Commons and the high school for a report of fireworks or possible gunshots at the end of the wood closer to the tennis courts.

School officials collecting money for football game admission reported hearing three blasts that could have been some kind of gunshots coming from the woods, police said. The chaperones also told police several staff members had already gone into the woods to see what was happening and to try to locate any suspects.

Patrolman Holcomb caught up to school officials in the woods who found three plastic bottles that appeared to have been split open, possibly causing the noises reported.

Materials were located and identified at the site by Holcomb that had been used to construct what appeared to be a household chemical based noise-making gadget. Suspects were identified and soon located near Church Street and Potter Avenue.

The three teens were found with some of the same brand of household chemicals found at the school and admitted to being responsible for what they referred to as “Poppers.” 

The teens were transported to the station by the parent of one of the teens for questioning.

After providing statements to police over the next several days the teens were charged and ordered to appear at the Washington County Probation Department. The teens will be tried as juveniles.

Police did not release their names and it is the policy of the Granville Sentinel not to print the names of juveniles faced with misdemeanor charges.

 

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