By Kevin Kelley
Brian Wasko, the 32-year-old Westlake man police say made two bomb threats against Gilles-Sweet Elementary School this month, was released on his own recognizance by the Rocky River Municipal Court on Oct. 23. He faces two charges of inducing panic. The charges are second-degree felonies under state law because they involve a school.
The next court hearing for Wasko is scheduled for Monday in Rocky River Municipal Court before Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons.
Fairview Park police Chief Erich Upperman told West Life that a text message containing the Oct. 21 bomb threat was sent to the personal cellphone of a Fairview Park police officer. A similar threat was made against the elementary school on Oct. 8, police said. Both threats were signed with the same name.
Police interviewed the Cleveland man whose name was attached to the threats. He provided police with the name of Wasko, who he said has a grudge against him, Upperman said. According to Fairview Park police, the hard feelings between the two men center on a business dispute.
Wasko was seen by police out on the street near the elementary school witnessing the evacuation, Upperman said. When police questioned him, he initially denied any involvement with the threat, the police chief said. About 10 minutes later, he called police and later confessed to making the threats, Upperman said.
The computer repair shop where Wasko works is located just around the corner from Gilles-Sweet Elementary School.
According to court documents, several conditions were placed on Wasko’s release. He is not permitted to use a computer or text, nor go within 500 feet of a school in Fairview Park. Wasko also may not use the telephone except for emergencies. The court ordered that Wasko be monitored with a GPS device.
A call to Wasko’s attorney, James Marniella, for comment was not returned by press time. A call to Fairview Park prosecutor John Castele for comment also was not returned.
In 2000, Wasko was charged with burglary, theft and possession of criminal tools after Westlake police said he broke into a house and used the victim’s computer. Wasko had been hired to mow the lawn of the homeowners, who were on vacation at the time, Westlake police said. Charges were dismissed by the Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court after a determination was made that Wasko was not competent.