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Long Beach teen arrested in connection with threats against 4 classmates via Facebook

April 22, 2011 | 11:09 am

A Long Beach high school student was facing charges Friday in connection with threats against four classmates through a fictitious Facebook account, authorities said.

The 17-year-old boy allegedly set up a Facebook profile under a fake name and then used it to send threatening messages to four students at Millikan High School, said Sgt. Rico Fernandez of the Long Beach Police Department.

“Posting a threat online is no different than making a threat face-to-face,” Fernandez said.

The male student was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Long Beach. He also faces charges of obstruction of justice in connection with false information provided to police in an initial interview, Fernandez said.

He was later released to his parents’ custody. A preliminary investigation began last week when one of the alleged victims contacted police. Fernandez said he could not discuss the nature of the messages nor the teen's possible motive.

“The messages were pretty graphic, but I can’t get into specifics,” he said.

Police searched the boy's home Thursday and seized a computer and other electronic devices, Fernandez said.

Detectives were still working to review the suspect’s “current and fake” Facebook profiles, he said.

When the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to determine whether to file formal charges.

Fernandez said the department wanted to caution teenagers on the dangers of using social networking websites inappropriately.

He urged Facebook users not to accept "Friend" requests from people they do not know.

“You give them access to everything, your photos and all your information,” he said.

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