High school students in Methuen were sent home early on Wednesday after a threat was emailed into a staff member at about 9:30 am.
Police say the threat was almost identical to another threat emailed to the Tewksbury school district. Nothing credible was found in either district and now police have a stern message for the people behind the email.
"Someone who think this is funny and spends ten years in prison, I don't think they will find it funny when they can't find a job the rest of their lives," said Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon.
Solomon says someone emailed a threat to a Methuen High School staff member at about 9:30 Wednesday morning. Students were immediately sent to nearby locations where they were told to leave their backpacks outside.
"They said line it up, they put it in lines, and then the dogs searched," said Methuen Freshman Robbie Delsolia.
Students were then dismissed as police continued to search their school. Delsolia was waiting in the cold for his sister to pick him up.
"It's good that I am home and I can pick him up, it's a big inconvenience and kids are just doing it to be cool and get out of school," said Alyssa Delsolia who graduated from Methuen in 2013.
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Police say the sender specifically mentioned pipe bombs in backpacks and promised to "massacre" police, but Solomon says there was no mention of exactly where or when.
"It was very interesting, in the text, it said, 'In your high school,' which, to me when you do analysis, is a generic statement you could use at a thousand locations," Solomon explained.
State police dogs searched all backpacks and police swept the school.
By afternoon, authorities determined no one was in any danger in Methuen.
"The threat was an intent to disrupt like it did and to cause fear and I think it's a shame," Solomon said.
Mayor Stephen Zanni told reporters he was frustrated that the educational process was interrupted by an unfounded threat.
"Today, the way the world exists we take everything very seriously especially when it comes to students," Zanni said.
The FBI and state police will be working to trace the email.
Police say the person responsible could be facing federal charges and years in prison.
Kids will go back to school Thursday.