Six teen-agers were sentenced last week in connection with a string of mailbox explosions that occurred this spring in the local residential area. Not only were they ordered to pay restitution for the damages they caused, but they were also sentenced to perform community service.
Over a three-week period during April and May, homeowners in Centreville and Chantilly reported 12 incidents of mailbox explosions. The juveniles had rigged containers — mainly, plastic beverage bottles — with caustic substances that created a pressurized atmosphere in a closed environment. Doing so caused the containers to explode and the mailboxes to be severely damaged.
Fortunately, no one was injured and, for the most part, property damage was confined to the mailboxes. However, in one incident, the interior of a nearby vehicle was also damaged.
Following an investigation, Fairfax County police were able to identify the juveniles responsible and arrest them. The boys, ages 15-16, were each charged with the manufacture, possession and use of explosive materials or devices — a charge punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.
They later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of destruction of property and were sentenced last Tuesday, Aug. 19, in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The juveniles were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, complete the Juvenile Fire Stop Program and make restitution in the amount of $1,797 total for the property damage they caused.
<tgl> — Bonnie Hobbs