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Man arrested for making threats to students in Martins Ferry School District

Police say 35-year-old Thomas Smith made terroristic threats against students in the Martins Ferry School District on social media on Monday, prompting the school to go on lockdown.

Police say 35-year-old Thomas Smith made terroristic threats against students in the Martins Ferry School District on social media on Monday, prompting the school to go on lockdown.

"A parent of a couple students at the school had received a Facebook message. She was having a conversation with an old boyfriend," Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland said.

In that conversation, something was said that the parent and police perceived to be a threat.

"Made reference that the kids weren't going to come home safe," McFarland said.

The school was notified immediately and put on lockdown, and Superintendent Jim Fogle said students were dismissed at normal time on Monday. Alerts were sent out to parents.

"We actually got in touch with the Facebook company,” McFarland said. “With help from them, they were able to get more information to track this person down. His cell phone was sending the information."

Later that evening, Martins Ferry police arrested Smith at a home in the city.

He is charged with aggravated menacing, making terroristic threats, inducing panic, and telephone harassment.

He is in jail on a $23,500 bond.

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