CHILLICOTHE – A vehicle repossession led to authorities detonating a homemade device in the Yoctangee Park Annex Tuesday that required a modified lockdown of the Chillicothe High School/Middle School campus.
The incident led to the arrest of 21-year-old Caleb Leasure, who was charged with inducing panic.
According to the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, a tow truck driver came to the Law Enforcement Complex about 11 a.m. Tuesday to report that he had found what appeared to be a homemade firework in the seat of a Dodge Truck he repossessed from the 10000 block of Charleston Pike.
Deputies went to where the vehicle had been brought in the alley beside the Law Enforcement Complex to look at the device, which was wrapped in black electrical tape with what looked like a fuse sticking out one end. The device was photographed and the picture was sent to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad to review while the vehicle was moved to the far southern end of the Yoctangee Park Annex.
The bomb squad from Franklin County responded to the park and detonated the item, which ended up consisting of about 250 sparklers taped together and placed inside a two-liter soda bottle that was then covered in the tape.
Shortly after the device was discovered, Chillicothe Police advised the Chillicothe City Schools to put the high school/middle school campus into a modified lockdown because of the need to detonate the device in the annex. District Superintendent Jon Saxton sent a One Call message to district parents around 3 p.m. to provide an update, in which he noted that, as a precaution, the district was told to prevent students from coming or going from any exits on the east side of the building — the side facing the annex — and to advise students not to walk along the flood wall.
The district was given the all clear around 2 p.m., in time for end-of-the-day dismissal in normal fashion.
Investigators, meanwhile, had made contact with the vehicle’s owner, Leasure, to make the arrest. That investigation into why the device was created in the first place and other details of the incident is ongoing, and the sheriff’s office stated that “further charges are expected at the completion of the investigation.”