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Student arrested over use of fake bomb in English class presentation

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A student at Salem International University in West Virginia who tried to get creative by using a fake bomb in an English class presentation is in custody after a scare that disrupted the campus and brought students to tears.

Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer said he's charging Joshua John Richards, 33, of Clarksburg with manufacture and possession of a hoax bomb. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison upon conviction.

Shaffer said he'll seek thousands of dollars' restitution for the cost of the emergency response, which involved fire and police departments, sheriff's deputies and a bomb squad.

Shaffer said Richards realized his creativity had gone awry when female classmates began crying on Tuesday.

He took his black box with its blinking green light to his car and waited for police.

“He was trying to be artsy, I guess,” Shaffer said. “You can get away with that in acting class, but it didn't work here.”

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