- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

A Montgomery County judge yesterday placed a Rockville boy on temporary probation for making pipe bombs — one of which destroyed a neighbor's mailbox and hurled fragments more than 100 feet, damaging a garage.
Maryland District Court Judge Dennis M. McHugh found there was substantial evidence to sustain the boy's involvement in five of the 10 counts of the indictment. He also urged the boy to consider how his curiosity could have killed his siblings or parents.
"You would have lived the rest of your life in a self-imposed [anguish]," said Judge McHugh, who returned the 16-year-old youth to the custody of his parents. The judge also made it clear that the parents have a responsibility to monitor the boy's access to the Internet and restrict his computer privileges if necessary.
"He apparently has been accessing information on the Internet regarding bombs and the making of bombs," said Assistant State's Attorney George E. Simms, who prosecuted the juvenile case.
Following completion of all testimony in the two-day juvenile hearing, Mr. Simms said the state would have no objection to release of the boy to his parent's custody with the stipulation that he be placed under electronic home-monitoring.
Computers were among the items Montgomery County police and arson investigators removed from the home on June 1, the day his mother called police after finding a pipe bomb in his backpack.
Authorities cited the family's cooperation and the boy's willingness to provide information before his arrest as reasons they supported releasing him from the county's juvenile detention center. The teen had been there since June 2.
"He drew a diagram for the bomb technicians to let them know where the explosive device was hidden," testified Detective Joseph Pinataro, one of the investigators involved in the case.
"I assure you that I will never do anything like this again," said the boy, whose name is being withheld because of his age.
Defense lawyer Barry H. Helfand hopes the promise of restitution for property damage and the boy's lack of previous run-ins with police will dissuade Judge McHugh from ordering further detention when the youth is sentenced Sept. 14. He still faces the possibility of detention until age 21, although that is considered unlikely.
"This is a boy with a support system," said Mr. Helfand, pointing to the boy's family and members of his church filling the gallery. "My client is grateful no one got hurt."

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