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Teen Accused of Stealing Guns, Plotting School Attack

Published On: Aug 24 2011 12:06:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Dec 09 2008 12:09:02 PM CST

Prosecutors and police say they have thwarted a potential disaster at Pottstown High School in Montgomery County. They've also charged a 15-year-old student, identified as Richard Yanis, as an adult with attempted murder with a deadly weapon. District Attorney Risa Ferman says authorities confiscated three guns and 275 rounds of ammunition. [ NEWS RELEASE ] [ RAW VIDEO: POTTSTOWN NEWS CONFERENCE ] She says their investigation begain after Yanis' father reported that his guns had been stolen from his secured gun locker in the basement of his house. They were a Smith and Wesson .357 caliber revolver, Smith and Wesson .22 caliber semi-auto pistol, and a Colt .45 caliber semi-auto pistol. Police say they later learned that Yanis gave the bag of guns and ammunition to a friend, asked him to "hold onto it," and told him he was going to "…shoot students in the school and then himself." That friend told police he showed the guns to his stepmother, who then drove him to the river to throw them in the water. Authorities later recovered the guns and ammunition and determined they were the same guns reported to have been stolen from Yanis' father. A ballistics test determined each of the guns was fully functional. Police say Yanis later admitted to them that he removed the guns from his home and that he gave them to a friend to “hold” them for him. According to police, Yanis said he was planning to have his friend take the guns to Pottstown High School where Yanis would shoot everyone he didn't like and then himself. He said he was going to tell his friends to go home from school. Yannis said he planned to carry out the attack after the New Year when he thought his theft of the guns would be forgotten. A statement from the superintendent on the district's website says "I am reporting the results of an ongoing investigation. I am calling to report to you today, through the combined efforts of the Pottstown School District, Pottstown Police Department, and Montgomery County District Attorney's office, a potential threat to our high school was identified and has been prevented. I want to assure you that at no time were our students or staff in any danger. Today, the District Attorney's office will file charges against a Pottstown High School student in connection with the incident. The student is presently being detained pending further evaluation. We will continue to provide information as is permitted by the District Attorney's office and as it becomes available. As always, we will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff."