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Police: Bomb plot stopped in Greece, NY; four arrested

January 23, 2019 12:26 PM

Authorities in Greece, NY, just outside Rochester, have arrested four people in connection to an alleged bomb plot against a Muslim community in Delaware County in the Catskills called Islamberg.

Brian Colaneri, 20, Vincent Vetromile, 19, and Andrew Crysel, 18, have all been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy. A 16-year-old suspect who police did not identify has also been charged. Police say the suspects had been in Boy Scouts together. Two of them, Vetromile and Crysel, are Eagle Scouts.

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Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan says police recovered 23 firearms and three improvised explosive devices.

The alleged plot was uncovered after the 16-year-old walked up to a table of kids at the Greece Odyssey Academy during lunch and showed a photo of one of the accused and said, "He looks like a school shooter doesn’t he?" That sparked the investigation.

"If they had carried out this plot, which every indication is that they were going to, people would have died," said Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan. "I don't know how many and who, but people would have died. The kid that initially said something to an adult saved people's lives."

“The lesson here is that, we tell kids this all the time, we say if you see something, say something. You've got to report anything suspicious. The lesson is that it works. I mean, this was a nice job by everybody involved," the police chief added.

On its website, Odyssey Academy posted a statement:

“As a school district and a community, we are deeply saddened and upset by what this investigation has revealed, but we are also incredibly grateful that young people refused to stand idly by. Students trusted their instincts and what they have learned from us in school.  These students came forward with information - supporting the idea that if you see something, you should say something. Their actions changed the narrative.

“Our school system has long prioritized safety. Our partnership with the Greece Police Department is unparalleled. School resource officers have been working in our buildings for more than five years. We also have a team of dedicated school security officers, many of whom are former law enforcement. They provide extensive training to school staff in areas including general school safety, threat assessment, and emergency preparedness.

“Additionally, staff in our schools have developed meaningful relationships with students. That trust, accessibility and mutual respect was the difference-maker in this situation.

“As a community, this situation reinforces the idea that safety is not the responsibility of one person or a small group of people. We must all do our part to ensure the safety of others…

“…The outcome of this investigation proves that our systems work. I want to emphasize that our schools are safe because of the actions of many.”

More coverage from our sister station in Rochester, WHEC-TV.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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