Pittston man arrested, tragedy possibly avoided

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PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police and staff may have stopped a serious attack on a Boy Scout camp in the Poconos. Investigators say a former employee sent threatening text messages containing a countdown to the camp’s big 100th-anniversary reunion happening Saturday.

When Pocono Mountain Regional and Pittston police executed a search warrant on 36-year-old Christopher Corey’s home in Luzerne County, they found four guns and various ammunition.

A woman named Janet, who declined to give her last name, lives next door to Corey on Laurie Lane in Pittston. Police believe Corey may have planned to attack Camp Acahela off Route 115 in Blakeslee.

“Christopher was a very nice young man, very quiet. I wouldn’t even have dreamed of anything,” Janet said.

Police say Corey was fired from his health officer position at the camp in 2014 due to mental health issues. Corey allegedly texted several current staff members over the years, talking bad about the program director and saying he wanted his job back. But staffers say recently, his texts went from strange to dark.

“The text messages were concerning in nature, as they referenced threats during a 100-year anniversary the camp is going to celebrate this Saturday during a barbeque,” Pocono Mountain Regional Police lieutenant Kristopher Vogt said.

The texts counted down the days until this event, while mentioning target shooting and guns. Staff members became concerned for campers’ and guests’ safety so they contacted police.

“It certainly may have prevented a tragedy from occurring this weekend,” Vogt said.

After recovering guns and ammo from Corey’s house, investigators say everyone can learn a lesson from this.

“In this day and age, you never know. If you see something or hear something, say something,” Vogt said.

Eyewitness News spoke to Corey’s parents, who also live at the home. They declined to speak on camera, but say their son is going through emotional issues lately.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Council- Boy Scouts of America sent Eyewitness News a written statement about this incident. The statement from Mark Barbernitz, Scout Executive/CEO, Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, Boy Scouts of America says: “We were deeply troubled to learn about this individual’s behavior. While he was not currently registered in Scouting, upon learning of this matter, we immediately notified law enforcement and prohibited him from any future participation in our programs. On background, the safety of our youth participants, staff and adult volunteers is our top priority. We place great importance on creating the most secure environment possible, and staff members are trained to identify and respond to any potential or perceived threats. Beyond that, please understand we do not share the personal information of any current or former youth members, staff or volunteers. As this investigation is ongoing, please direct further questions to local law enforcement.”

Police say Corey had a concealed carry permit, which was revoked and is now expired. A Monroe County judge denied bail because of the serious nature of this case. Corey faces a hearing scheduled for August 1.

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