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13-year-old girl charged in bomb threat hoax

A 13-year-old girl was charged for making a bomb threat to West Middle School Tuesday, on a day two bomb threats in Carroll turned out to be hoaxes.

The juvenile is charged with making a false statement regarding a destructive device and was released into the custody of her parents pending proceedings before the Department of Juvenile Services, according to Col. Phil Kasten of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

The girl did not present any danger to the school, its students or faculty, according to a sheriff's office news release.

School officials reported finding an anonymous, non-specific written threat to the school building just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the sheriff's office. West Middle was evacuated as a precaution while officers from several area law enforcement agencies inspected the building with explosive detection canine teams.

William Winchester Elementary, located next to West Middle, was also put on modified lock down.

School officials quickly notified parents of the evacuation and precautionary efforts. After the threat was determined to be a hoax, students returned to class.

Maryland's juvenile system has no sentencing guidelines and penalties are case specific and determined by a judge, according to Eric Solomon, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.

The longest the juvenile system could hold someone is up until their 21st birthday, Solomon said.

The threat was the second bomb threat in Carroll Tuesday.

Around 8:30 a.m., the Carroll County Circuit Court received an anonymous telephone call claiming that an explosive device had been left in one of the court buildings.

Carroll County Circuit and District courts closed Tuesday as the sheriff's office investigated the threat.

"Unfortunately, you cannot take any of these threats lightly," Kasten said.

The circuit and district court buildings were evacuated and traffic within the immediate area, including Court Street, Greenwood Avenue and the surrounding alleyways, was detoured for nearly five hours while law enforcement personnel inspected the buildings.

Law enforcement officers from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police, Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, Westminster Police, Howard County and Baltimore County Sheriff's Office used explosive detection canine teams and X-ray equipment to inspect the buildings, according to the release.

Kasten said the sheriff's office is grateful for the abundant support it received today in investigating both threats.

All threats need to be fully examined, which requires an extensive amount of resources, Kasten said.

Both courts are expected to resume their regular schedule today.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the Carroll County Sheriff's Office at 410-386-2900, or the Anonymous TIPS Hotline at 888-399-TIPP.

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