Boredom drove two teenage boys to plant a fake bomb decorated with a Nazi flag outside Spokane’s federal building, the mother of one of the youths said Wednesday.
“They’re not into white supremacy or any of that stuff,” she said.
“They’re just kids who get bored easy and don’t know what to do.”
The 14- and 15-year-old boys confessed to Monday’s bomb hoax, authorities said. They will remain in custody until prosecutors decide whether to file charges.
After the 14-year-old’s initial appearance Wednesday in Spokane County Juvenile Court, his mother said she doesn’t know where the boys got the wooden broomsticks, wires and Nazi flag to make the dynamite-simulating device.
“They’re both at fault for this,” she said. “They both concocted this plan.”
She doubts a theory that the boys were copying a Sunday evening episode of “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” in which Nazi-sympathizing youths plant a bomb. She said she doesn’t think they watched the show.
They sneaked out of her apartment after she fell asleep, she said.
The boys were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of intimidation or harassment with explosives, a felony offense, after police and FBI agents found them asleep at the younger boy’s Browne’s Addition home.
The FBI received a tip Monday afternoon identifying the youths as suspects in the hoax.
Prosecutors must decide this week whether to file charges against the boys, or they will be released, said Deputy Prosecutor Carmela Conroy.
The boys were handcuffed together as they were led into court Wednesday.
The 15-year-old has lived with a family friend since his own family left Spokane two or three years ago, a juvenile probation officer said.
The boy “has the misfortune of being a victim of child abuse,” Rand Pratt said. “These problems to some degree have overwhelmed him.”
The youth, not currently in school, was last enrolled at Ferris High School, Pratt said.
He has a record of prior convictions for reckless endangerment, malicious mischief and theft. He is on probation for unlawful possession of a rifle, authorities said.
The 14-year-old, who recently dropped out of Lewis and Clark High School, lives with his mother. He has only one prior offense: possession of a stolen mountain bike, records show.
“He hasn’t been totally out of control,” said Wayne Ristau, a juvenile probation officer. “He’s just been stretching the rules.”
The boys have used alcohol and marijuana in the past, court officials said.
Superior Court Commissioner Royce Moe decided Wednesday to keep the boys in detention because of the seriousness of the crime, their dropout status and other factors.
A courthouse maintenance mechanic spotted the fake bomb in a flower bed on the north side of the building as he arrived at work about 6:30 a.m. Monday.
The fake bomb prompted Spokane police to bring in 50 officers to block downtown streets, evacuate hundreds of people and reroute dozens of buses Monday morning. A bomb squad robot blew up the device.