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— Three juveniles were arrested Friday in connection with Thursday's threats of a bomb at a Gentry school, and afourth juvenile is being called "a person of interest."

According to a press release from Gentry Police Chief Keith Smith, his department arrested three teen-age boys who dialed Benton County's 911 system at least three times Thursday afternoon, threatening that a bomb would be at the Gentry schools. In the last call, the threat was more specific, with the caller saying the bomb would be at the Gentry Middle School.

Through investigation by police and school officials and tips called in to the police, three Gentry students were identified, according to the release.

Used in making identification were Gentry school bus camera systems, 911 recordings and other evidence, the release states.

A cell phone used in the crimes was also recovered and has been identified asbelonging to a relative of one of the accused boys.

Through multiple interviews, police learned that the boys made the plan while at school on Wednesday. One of the boys allegedly brought the cell phone to school Thursday so the boys could carry out the plan.

Evidence indicates all three juveniles were involved in the crimes, the release states. Police believe a fourth student was also involved and are calling the student a person of interest.

The three boys arrested were transported to the Benton County Juvenile Detention Center Friday, according to the release.

They were being held on charges of terrorist threatening and tampering with physical evidence, both Class D felonies, according to the release.

Though schools remained open, police and school officials took every precaution to ensure the safety of students and staff at the schools. In addition to police presence and extra precautions by faculty and staff at the schools, bombsniffing dogs were brought to the schools for a search in the morning.

"We regard this as a lowlevel threat," Smith said on Thursday. "There is no corroborating evidence to verify what the caller said."

Yet Smith emphasized that his department and the schools did not take the threat lightly, but took every precaution for the safety of all involved.

Sports, Pages 5 on 09/30/2009

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