Teen arrested in pipe bomb case

January 4, 2013
Charleroi Area High School senior Ryan Pfrogner, 18, is led to court Friday by state Constable Ralph Jennings to face charges of making pipe bombs in his Lower Speers home. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

CHARLEROI – A Charleroi Area High School senior was arrested on a warrant Friday accusing him of making pipe bombs, one of which created a scare on the campus.

District Judge Larry Hopkins remanded Ryan Pfrogner, 18, of Lower Speers, to the Washington County jail on $50,000 during the teen’s arraignment on a felony charge of risking a catastrophe and misdemeanor counts of making offensive weapons and reckless endangerment.

“These are serious charges,” Hopkins said when the Pfrogner appeared before him in court.

The teen initially was facing an additional charge of bringing a weapon onto school property after school officials alerted Charleroi Regional police Nov. 20 that Pfrogner allegedly confessed to once having a pipe bomb stored in his car while it was parked in the school parking lot. Investigators conducted a search of the Fallowfield Township school without finding any weapons.

The Washington County district attorney’s office withdrew that case Dec. 28 and refiled a new complaint based on evidence relating to pipe bombs found at the student’s home.

Police searched his residence at 136 River St. Nov. 20 and said they seized two small, live PVC pipe bombs in his bedroom and bomb-making supplies in a workshop in the residence, court records show.

Pfrogner was released from the jail Friday afternoon after posting bond. His attorney, Ralston S. Jackson of Pittsburgh, did not return a call seeking comment.

Hopkins scheduled Pfrogner’s preliminary hearing for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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