12:30 p.m. UPDATE: Smithfield High School Principal Dr. Joyce McDowell sent this out to parents this morning via phone message:
Good Morning Parents-
This is Dr. Joyce McDowell, Principal of Smithfield High School calling to inform you that in a recent school investigation our administrators became aware of information regarding the after-school activities of two students that we felt needed to be shared with the Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office. Upon notifying them, we were advised that there was no direct or immediate threat to Smithfield High School or our students and staff, however as a precautionary measure the law enforcement officials conducted a thorough search of the entire school building that evening. Please rest assured that had there been any determination of an immediate threat to our school, appropriate actions would have been taken.
We would like to thank the Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office for their rapid response and thorough investigation of this matter. We appreciate their collaborative efforts in working closely with Smithfield High School administration to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. Due to this being an active investigation, all questions and concerns should be directed to the Sheriff's Office.
ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY -- Two Smithfield High School students, ages 14 and 15, are charged with having bomb making materials at their homes.
The 14- and 15- year old boys were arrested Wednesday night.
Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kristin Wilda says the investigation started last week when the 15-year-old asked another student about where to get a gun. A student who heard the conversation told his parents and then told school officials. That led authorities to search the teen's home, where deputies say they found about 100 rounds of 45 caliber ammunition, a water bottle (approximately 16-oz) filled with gasoline, a small container of what appeared to be gunpowder and fuses, Wilda stated.
Wilda added information recovered from the teen's cell phone indicated a 14-year-old was involved.
"Text messages between the two discussed the use of certain household items for the purpose of making fire bombs," Wilda noted.
That teen's home was searched and deputies recovered copper piping, gunpowder and other components consistent with a homemade weapon, Wilda explained.
Sheriff’s investigators stress there was no threat directed at Smithfield High School or its students. Though the initial information was received at school, the ensuing investigation has revealed only external and non-school-related criminal activities.
Authorities say they also recovered items that connected the boys to a break-in of an unoccupied home in the 8600 block of Old Stage Highway.
The 15-year-old has been charged with one count of Enter property with the intent to destroy, one count of Destruction of property, one count of Conspiracy, one count of Grand Larceny,three counts of Manufacture, possession, use of fire bombs or explosive materials or devices and one count of Trespass.
The 14-year-old is charged with one count of Enter property with the intent to destroy, one count of Destruction of property, one count of Conspiracy, one count of Grand Larceny, one count of Manufacture, possession, use of fire bombs or explosive materials or devices, one count of Trespass and one count of Possession of burglary tools.
The teens were due in Southampton County juvenile court Thursday morning because the Isle of Wight juvenile court is closed.