AVON PARK, Fla. - A 29-year-old man is in custody after threats were made Wednesday against two Highlands County schools, leading to evacuations, the sheriff's office said.

James Lee Irvin Jr. of Sebring, was charged with two counts of threatening to discharge a destructive device and two counts of using a two-way device to commit a felony.

Sebring High School reported receiving a fax at 8:49 a.m. claiming explosive devices had been placed around the building and that they would be detonated unless money was paid.

Students and faculty were evacuated across the street to the Highlands News-Sun Center, and parents were allowed to pick up their children if they wanted.

The sheriff's office conducted a sweep of the school, along with units from other agencies and four explosives-detection dogs.

While that was going on, Avon Park High School reported at 10:58 a.m. that it had received the same fax.

Crews evacuated students, faculty and staff to the football stadium behind the school. Parents were permitted to pick up their children.

No explosives were found at either school.

All Highlands County schools were on a safety closure as a precautionary measure.

Investigators said they were able to trace the faxes to Irvin. He was arrested at 2:31 p.m.

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