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Long Beach teen accused of making threats on Facebook

The 17-year-old is accused of setting up a fake profile and sending threatening messages to four students at Millikan High School.

April 23, 2011|By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times

A Long Beach high school student was facing charges Friday in connection with threats against four classmates through a fictitious Facebook account, authorities said.

The 17-year-old boy is accused of setting up a Facebook profile under a fake name and using it to send threatening messages to four students at Millikan High School, said Sgt. Rico Fernandez of the Long Beach Police Department.

"Posting a threat online is no different than making a threat face to face," Fernandez said.

The boy was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Long Beach. He also faces charges of obstruction of justice in connection with false information provided to police in an initial interview, Fernandez said.

He was released to his parents' custody. A preliminary investigation began last week when one of the students contacted police. Fernandez said he could not discuss the nature of the messages or the teen's possible motive.

"The messages were pretty graphic, but I can't get into specifics," he said.

Police searched the boy's home Thursday and seized a computer and other electronic devices, Fernandez said.

Detectives were still working to review the suspect's Facebook profiles, he said.

When the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office for a decision about whether to file formal charges.

Fernandez said the department wanted to caution teenagers on the dangers of using social networking websites inappropriately.

He urged Facebook users not to accept "friend" requests from people they do not know.

"You give them access to everything, your photos and all your information," he said.

sam.allen@latimes.com

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