Teen gets probation for alleged bomb plot at Batavia High School

A 17-year-old on Thursday was sentenced to 4 years probation and mental health treatment following an alleged plot to detonate explosives at Batavia High School.

Samuel Plenio pleaded guilty to a count of possession of explosives in exchange for the sentence, the Kane County state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.

Plenio was initially charged as a juvenile, but his case was later transferred to adult court, prosecutors said.

On Nov. 26, 2019, law enforcement searched Plenio’s home after a Batavia resident tipped off authorities that Plenio bought bomb-making materials, prosecutors said.

FBI agents searched his home and found “a working laboratory with numerous chemicals, compounds, laboratory equipment and other items and materials used to make bombs,” prosecutors said.

They also found three PVC pipes, end caps with holes drilled in them, detonators and ball bearings, prosecutors said.

A notebook in Plenio’s bedroom had “numerous statements of hate ideology” and a detailed plan to detonate a bomb in a restroom of Batavia High School, prosecutors said.

He planned to “throw a pipe bomb and Molotov cocktail into a crowd, open fire, aim for the weak, throw a pipe bomb down the mail hallway, kill at his own discretion, and use the rest of the grenades wherever possible,” prosecutors said. He allegedly planned to die by suicide.

As part of his plea, Plenio will remain in custody at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center until placed in a residential treatment facility, prosecutors said. He must complete a 6-month treatment plan at the facility, which includes treatment for schizophrenia, prosecutors said.

Plenio will be prohibited from owning weapons, and his internet access will be limited to school assignments, prosecutors said. He is prohibited from entering Batavia High School or any other school grounds.

“This is the right outcome for this case as it protects the community and also provides Mr. Plenio with the important help that he needs,” State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement.

Plenio’s parents are expected to cover the cost of treatment, prosecutors said.