LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP/WSAZ) -- UPDATED 2/21/2019 @ 6:37 a.m.
The State Highway Patrol says inmates at an Ohio maximum security prison were plotting "a possible escape attempt and possible riot" when the plan was interrupted.
The patrol is investigating the Feb. 12 incident in which authorities confiscated three fake handguns, drawings of handguns, and a fake explosive device.
Prison officials have described the plot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville as "a very serious and unique situation."
The patrol referred to the possible escape and riot in an initial incident report obtained by The Associated Press through a records request.
Investigators found a fake bomb in a hole in a shower stall frame, three realistic-looking fake guns made to resemble Glock handguns, and parts of a fourth gun.
Inmate suspects were placed in restrictive housing.
UPDATE 2/14/19 @ 7:30 p.m.
Melissa Mefford often drives her high-schooler Tanner to school and practice, but there is one thing that is always at the back of her mind.
"You see the Valley Schools sign and you see the Ohio Southern Correction Facility on the other side of the road,” she said.
Her son goes to Valley High School, right across the street from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
"I don't know why they would put a school across the road from a prison,” Mefford said.
She lived nearby during the Lucasville prison riot and remembers the horror the community went through during that time. With her son so close by now, she worries about what could happen.
So when she heard Tuesday that there were fake weapons, including three guns and a bomb found at the prison, she was immediately worried, especially for her relatives that work there.
After receiving a call from Ohio State Highway Patrol about a tip that there were weapons being stored in the prison, guards began a search and then found a fake explosive device in the frame of a shower stall.
They also searched five cells and found inmates with fake handguns that looked very realistic.
"You wouldn't know if that wasn't real,” Mefford said.
She says incidents like these make it stressful for her family who work there.
"Daily basis, he has to just go home and decompress, block it out,” she said.
She’s thankful that the weapons turned out to be fake and grateful for those who she considers the first line of defense in her neighborhood.
“Those officers in there need to be patted on the back,” Mefford said.
ORIGINAL STORY 2/14/19
Ohio authorities have confiscated several fake handguns and a fake explosive device at a prison in what they're calling "a very serious and unique situation."
Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says contraband drawings of handguns were also confiscated Tuesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Institution in Lucasville.
The guns were made of bars of soap, pieces of eyeglasses, battery casings, and carbon paper.
The explosive device, found in a hole in a shower stall, was made of grout shavings, copper wire from ear buds, batteries, and a small radio.
Events leading to the search began after an inmate called The Associated Press Tuesday afternoon about a potential hostage-taking plot in the works.
The AP contacted the state patrol, which investigated along with prison officials.