Teens confess to Cossey burglary

February 29, 2008 3:40:26 PM PST
A 14-year-old praised by President Bush for stopping an attack against a Montgomery County school pled guilty, along with two other teens, to burglary charges on Friday. The teens were accused of burglarizing Dillon Cossey's home while he is away serving time. After pleading guilty they were all remanded into custody. Sentencing will be set at a later date.

Last October, President Bush spent time on a Philadelphia tarmac talking with the boy credited with tipping off police to Cossey's plans for a Columbine-style attack at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.

Cossey later admitted to amassing a cache of weapons and plotting the assault. He is serving as many as seven years in a juvenile detention center.

The teen who tipped off police was in court Friday and admitted he broke into Cossey's home twice through a rear window. They took electronics, video games, money and fake weapons. Police seized all the real weapons last year.

Authorities say the boys bragged at school about the items they would swipe from the Cossey home and even offered to sell the stolen loot to other students.

Authorities were alerted to the teens' involvement by officials at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, where the defendants are students. The tipster allegedly tried to sell some of the stolen goods to classmates, who reported him to school officials, Assistant District Attorney Sharon Giamporcaro said.

The teens faced charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.

All three teens were found delinquent and will be sentenced within a month. They could be sentenced, at most, to juvenile detention until they turn 21.

Brian McLaughlin, attorney for the tipster teen, wouldn't discuss why his client had broken into the home, saying "it's obviously something he didn't think through." He said the teen had "a lot of notoriety to deal with at such a young age."

"He's been through a lot," McLaughlin said. "He's a good kid."

Cossey's mother, Michelle, said by phone that she doesn't go into her son's room because it is too painful so she didn't realize until Wednesday night that she had been burglarized.

"It's a very upsetting situation. I don't know all the facts. I don't know anything. I can''t tell you anything," she said.

Dillion Cossey, who was home-schooled, had told his friend that he wanted to stage an attack similar to the 1999 assault on Columbine High School in Colorado because "the world would be better off without bullies," according to prosecutors.

The 14-year-old friend then told authorities, who searched Cossey's Plymouth Township home on Oct. 11. They found a 9 mm rifle, about 30 air-powered guns modeled to look like higher-powered weapons, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the Columbine attack and violence-filled notebooks.

None of the boys have any prior criminal history, and a defense attorney for one of the boys said he's hoping his client will be given a sentence of probation.

The boys will stay at the Youth Center until they are sentenced.

Information provided by The Associated Press was used in this report.