Bomb Threats

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A number of bomb threats have plagued Licking County, most occurred primarily in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

June 1989

A bomb threat was issued during the graduation ceremony of Newark High School on June 4th, 1989, which delayed the ceremony for almost two hours while a bomb detection team from Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, searched the field for suspected explosive devices. [1] Two devices, which may have been bombs or firebombs, were found and disarmed Sunday morning. The first device was found in a trash can near the Jimmy Allen Gymnasium, and was disarmed by the Columbus Fire Department bomb squad. Another device was found Sunday morning on White Field buried near the west goal post on the football field. Two teens Kevin Kulow, 17, and Christopher Francis, 16, were charged with delinquency counts of criminal mischief and inducing panic. The devices were tested and were found to contain incendiary components, only smoke. Kulow was a member of the graduating class. [2]

April 1997

April 1997 again saw Newark High School under bomb threats that kept the school closed for two and a half days. [3] An explosive device was found inside a locker, which prompted the evacuation of more than 2,000 students and staff. [4] Jon E. Paulson, 16, a freshman at Newark High School, and three of his friends, Kenneth Renner, 15, Andrew Wente, 16, and Timothy Miller, 16, [5] were arrested in connection with the threats and suspicion of planting the device inside the locker. [6] Paulson and and Renner confessed to their charges, citing a childish prank as the reason. [7] Paulson was sent to a state dentention facility for six months after he was found delinquent on felony counts of tampering with evidence and disruption of public services, in addition to misdemeanor count of inducing panic. The other three were found delinquent of tampering with evidence and placed on probation, along with mandatory community service. [8]

The threats at Newark High School had a ripple effect in the community and nearby schools including Heath High School, Wilson Middle School in Newark, and Licking County Joint Vocational School were also evacuated during the last week of April. The Courthouse and a few businesses were also victims of threats. A 13 year old Wilson student, Troy Westbrook was arrested in connection to the threats on the middle school, and wrote an open letter of apology to the community for the chaos he caused. [9]

Other Bomb Threats

  • February 1998
  • May 1999
  • October 1999
  • February 2001
  • May 2001


  1. Pettit-West, D., & House, K. (1989, June 5). 'Bombs' delay NHS ceremony. The Newark Advocate.
  2. Pettit-West, D. (1989, June 13). Two charged in graduation incident. The Newark Advocate.
  3. Cahlander, K. (1997, April 25). Bomb threats force school to adjust schedule. The Newark Advocate, p. 1.
  4. Parker Geier, S. (1997, April 24). Police arrest 16-year-old in high school bomb scare. The Newark Advocate, p. 1.
  5. Williams Jr., J. (1997, May 2). Suspect in bomb threat jailed. The Newark Advocate.
  6. Parker Geier, S. (1997, April 25). Threats considered prank, but investigation continues. The Newark Advocate, p. 1.
  7. Williams Jr., J. (1997, May 8). Newark students confess. The Newark Advocate
  8. Parker Geier, S. (1997, July 31). Student sentenced for role in bomb threat. The Newark Advocate.
  9. Cahlander, K. (1997, May 10). Officials see sincerity in student's apology. The Newark Advocate.
  10. Folder Bomb Threats, Local History Vertical File, Licking County Library, Newark, Ohio.