FRANKLIN -- A Franklin teenager is facing a felony charge for allegedly causing a bomb scare at Franklin High School.
There have been a series of threats found at local schools over the last month. In fact, there have been four separate incidents at four different schools (Kettle Moraine High School, Greendale High School, Franklin High School and Hartford Union High School) over the past month, and very often, the alleged motive is a day off school.
The criminal complaint against Ross Menken says on the night of Thursday, March 29, a custodian at Franklin High School went into a men's restroom and found someone had etched the following message into the paint on the wall of a toilet stall: NO SCHOOL TOMORROW... BOOM... BOMB...
After finding the message, the complaint says the custodian contacted school officials. The superintendent cancelled school on Friday because of the threat in the message. The sheriff's department bomb squad also searched the building for bombs and found none.
Police checked surveillance videos showing students entering and exiting that restroom. The footage revealed Menken was carrying a backpack and entered the restroom on that Thursday afternoon. He had apparently lost his hallway privileges and should not have been in that restroom.
The complaint goes on to say, "Officers interviewed (Menken's) friend, who told police (Menken) had confided that he did the bomb scare, using a pen with a cloth wrapped around it. The friend said that (Menken) joked about it, with words to the effect that, 'You can thank me for the day off Friday.'"
When detectives interviewed Menken, he first denied any involvement. But the complaint says he eventually "admitted leaving the message...He said that he did not plant a bomb
or even have a bomb, and the whole thing was a prank, and that he had hoped that the
message would result in school being cancelled on Friday."
Menken's classmates in Franklin say this was a prank that went too far. "If he was going to do that to the school, then yeah, he deserves the time," Lindsay Wanke said. "Even if it's just for a day off or something, you could just call in sick, rather than scaring the whole school," Ak Redkar said.
Menken's family sent the following statement to FOX6 News: "Our family is very upset and ashamed of Ross's actions. We apologize to the community, and to all that have been affected. We ask that people be understanding of our situation because this is not reflective of our family values."
If convicted, Menken faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. "I think it does show that if you make these types of threats, that we will investigate it. We will find out who was responsible for it, and you'll have to face the consequences of your actions," Franklin Police Captain Joe Spak said.
Hartford Union High School incident:
Bomb threat investigated at Hartford Union High School
Franklin High School incident:
Franklin High School student arrested for bomb threat
Franklin High School canceled classes after bomb threat found
Greendale High School incident:
Greendale H.S. lifts restrictions after bomb threat
Several students in custody after Greendale H.S. bomb threat found
Bomb threat discovered in Greendale High School restroom
Kettle Moraine High School Incident:
Two charged with spray painting graffiti on Kettle Moraine H.S.
Two could be charged in Kettle Moraine H.S. graffiti incident
Arrest made after graffiti at Kettle Moraine High School