A 16-year-old who brought an explosive device to a crowded
northern Indiana county fair for the thrill of seeing people's reaction
has been arrested, along with the teenager who made the device and one who
interfered when sheriff's deputies tried to make the initial arrest.
Authorities credited the two people who tipped off authorities Thursday
night with avoiding a potentially deadly explosion at the LaPorte County
Fair, about 25 miles west of South Bend.
"If it would have been exploded like they planned, evidently, it could
have definitely injured some people, and I guess it's not beyond the fact
that it could have even killed someone," LaPorte County Sheriff Mike
Mollenhauer said Monday. "It probably would have depended on how close
they were when it went off."
LaPorte County Sheriff's Maj. John Boyd said after interviewing the
teenagers — all from the LaPorte area — authorities don't believe they
intended to harm anyone.
"It was intended to be detonated, but only to get a reaction out of people
and for their own thrill," he said.
The teenager with the backpack was charged with possession of a
destructive device and the other was charged with manufacturing a
destructive device. They would have faced more serious charges if
authorities believed they intended to harm anyone, Boyd said.
The names of the two and the third who interfered with the initial arrest
have not been released because they are charged as juveniles.
Boyd said a person at the county fair and a caller to 911 tipped off
authorities about the plot about 9 p.m. Thursday, saying the teenager had
an explosive device and planned to detonate it near the carnival rides. He
said deputies were able to find the teenager within seven minutes based on
the description they had been given.
The device was taken away from the fair and quickly dismantled by the
dismantled Porter County Bomb Squad, Boyd said.
A third teenager, also 16, who argued with police as they tried to arrest
the teen with the backpack and kicked officers was subdued using a
chemical spray, Boyd said. He was taken into custody for disorderly
conduct, battery to a police officer and resisting law enforcement.