Press-Republican

Local News

January 14, 2014

Teens charged with arson, conspiracy

NORTH ELBA — Two students at Mountain Lakes Academy face felony charges in connection with a smoke bomb set off indoors.

According to State Police reports, troopers responded to a report of arson at the school at 7:45 p.m. Sunday. Fire-alarm activation also deployed Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department.

A 14-year-old male student, whose name is not being released due to his age, and 16-year-old Elwood W. Verity III of Lido Beach, N.Y., were “arrested for setting off smoke bombs and burning a portion of a carpet inside the academy. The two also attacked staff members at the academy,” State Police said in a news release.

Mountain Lakes Academy Director Carol Prevost said Monday that the two students lit off a single smoke bomb.

There was no damage to the facility, she told the Press-Republican.

“There was no flame or fire. The kids thought this would be a prank.”

Prevost characterized the alleged attack by the students as their effort to “interfere with responding staff.”

She could not comment further on the nature of the alleged physical attack, but said all staffers at Mountain Lakes have been cleared to return to their jobs.

‘TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY’

State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said the students had more than one smoke bomb and were attempting to light another when Mountain Lakes staff stopped them.

“In his (Verity’s) attempt to light a second one, staff was able to intervene,” she told the Press-Republican.

“Of staff members that intervened, one was struck in the face. The resisting-arrest charge stems from the staff trying to put them in custody. They (students) struggled and refused to cooperate.”

The smoke bomb was set off in a common area, not in a student’s room, Prevost said.

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