Man threatened school to distract from robbery, police say
Pennsylvania police said Wednesday that a man threatened to bomb and shoot a school to create a diversion from a possible bank robbery. Authorities identified 35-year-old Luke Dell of Beavercreek, Ohio.
According to police, Dell walked into a Bob Evans Restaurant in North Huntingdon wearing a mask that made him look much older, and placed a handwritten note on the counter near an employee. The note allegedly said there was an active shooter and multiple bomb threats at two nearby high schools.
Dell left the restaurant and employees immediately called the police to give them a description of the man, as well as his car and license plate number, police said.
“The mask was a very high-quality mask, made him look like he was in his late 60’s, early 70’s when in fact he was a 35-year-old male,” said North Huntingdon Police Chief Robert Rizzo told CBS Pittsburgh.
Officers responded to the Bob Evans Restaurant and one of the two high schools and maintained constant communication with administration at the other throughout the incident, according to a North Huntingdon Police release.
As a precaution, schools in one of the districts that were threatened placed all of its schools on a modified lockdown as police investigated. The lockdown was lifted once the students at the high school were sent home so that a proper examination of the school could be conducted.
Police were able to determine that the license plate was stolen off of another car, according to CBS Pittsburgh. While en route to that car’s location, an officer pulled over Dell’s car and found him inside still wearing the mask. Dell admitted to delivering the note to the Bob Evans employee in an effort to get police to respond to that location, police said.
Dell was taken into custody and is being charged with terrorist threats and other related charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison and fines over $50,000.
While Dell was being taken into custody, police used a bomb detection dog to search his vehicle and no explosives were found. Dell also told police he had a gun, but police found no weapons either.
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