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12 days' chokey for bomb threat log error

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A Pennsylvania student was held in jail for 12 days after a bomb threat recorded by a school hot line service was wrongly attributed to him, Fox News reports.

Fifteen-year-old Cody Webb, of Greensburg, "called a school district hot line to listen to a recorded message about school delays at 3:12am EDT on 11 March", his mobile phone records later revealed. The next morning, school officials discovered said bomb threat logged at 3:17am.

The powers that be therefore concluded that "Webb had made the threat because they also found a record of his phone call", the lad's attorney Tim Andrews explained. The school's principal confirmed his guilt by asking Webb for his cell phone number later that morning and then quickly declared: "We got him. We got him."

Webb refused to confess, was arrested "on a felony charge of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and related misdemeanor counts" and thrown into Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Centre for 12 days until the truth was revealed.

In fact, because the school had not reset the clock on the hot line, which continued to show Eastern Standard Time, officials and police failed to spot that the bomb threat had actually come in at 4:17am - more than an hour after Webb's innocent call.

Andrews explained: "The district attorney subpoenaed the cell phone records, and it didn't take more than a minute to see the times didn't match."

Webb was finally released "when a state trooper failed to show up at another hearing". The charges were dropped on 27 March.

Andrews, unsuprisingly, added that "the boy's family is considering a law suit against the school district or police for false arrest". Webb said of his ordeal: "I wasn't going to admit to something I didn't do. Me and God know I didn't do it." ®

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