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Charleroi student accused of taking pipe bomb to school

Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
The entrance on the side of an addition in the rear of 136 River Avenue where authorities conducted an investigation related to bomb-making on November 20, 2012 in Speers.

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By Rick Bruni
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 4:48 p.m.

An 18-year-old Charleroi Area student was arrested Tuesday on charges he made pipe bombs and brought one onto school property last week.

Charleroi Regional Police said Ryan Pfrogner, 18, was found to have at least three plastic pipe bombs at his residence at 136 River Ave., Speers. He was released to the custody of his mother, police said.

Police did not specify the charges on Tuesday but said a summons would be mailed to Pfrogner.

The Allegheny County Bomb Squad was called to Pfrogner's home on Tuesday. Investigators told WPXI-TV that one of the bombs was detonated in a nearby wooded area.

Charleroi Area Superintendent Brad Ferko said he first learned of the allegations when district parents called Friday night and said Pfrogner had made a bomb in chemistry class.

Ferko said that was determined to be false, but that Pfrogner — an honors student — did admit to school officials on Tuesday to having a bomb in the trunk of his car while it was parked on school property.

Ferko said Pfrogner's punishment would be immediate but did not confirm whether the action would be grounds for expulsion.

Ferko mentioned there was another student involved in the investigation, initially led by the Charleroi Area school police, but did not provide the student's identity.

“I asked if he got parts from the classroom, and we determined that no, he did not,” Ferko said. “He had made it at home. He brought his car to school; it was in the trunk, and he forgot about it.

“The kid is a great kid, he was cooperative, but he did a stupid, stupid thing. If you bring a weapon onto school grounds, that's it.”

Charleroi Area school police Chief Mike Kresich referred all requests for information to Ferko.

“We did the investigation and called the police Monday night. We searched the two lockers, and we found nothing. I mean nothing,” Ferko said. “(Tuesday), I called the kids in the office and lo and behold, the one kid (Pfrogner) said, ‘I had a pipe bomb in the trunk of my car' on school grounds Friday.

“So, he (Pfrogner) admits it, and we have to take disciplinary action and the investigation ends up at this house,” Ferko said. “I can't discuss the disciplinary procedure. We need to make sure the school environment is safe, and he has his rights.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.

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