A San Luis Obispo judge ordered an Atascadero teen to pay $235,341 to the Atascadero Unified School District for a stunt he carried out on Sept. 11, 2015, that brought out the bomb squad to San Gabriel Elementary School and shut down the campus for two weeks.
Early in the morning, Bret Stephen Landen placed a jar containing a fake chemical weapon on a fence next to the school playground. A note placed nearby said the jar contained cyanide mixed with a strong acid. Laboratory tests, however, showed the substance was not capable of producing a dangerous gas.
Landen, now 19, also left threatening letters around campus that were addressed to teachers and directed them to the jar with the suspicious substance. The notes also discussed playing a game and warned that children were at risk. The stunt resembled the horror film Saw.
Following his arrest, Landen pleaded no contest to criminal threats and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. He receive a one-year jail sentence and five years of felony probation
The restitution Landen is required to pay is supposed to compensate Atascadero Unified for a variety of expenses, including safety measures, construction costs and lost revenue resulting from the school closure. Landen was also ordered to pay $247 to the state Victims’ Compensation Board.