Ohio man threatens school shooting to distract from robbery
Police in North Huntingdon identified 35-year-old Luke Dell of Beavercreek, Ohio after he carried out an elaborate scheme that involved multiple diversions and a mask that drastically changed his image, making him look much older than he was.
According to police, Dell walked into a Bob Evans Restaurant wearing the mask, and placed a handwritten note on the counter near an employee. The note 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.
“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.
Officers responded to the Bob Evans Restaurant and one of the two high schools, while maintaining constant communication with administration at the other throughout the incident.
As a precaution, schools in one of the districts that were threatened placed all of its schools on a modified lock down as police investigated. The lock down was lifted once the students at the high school were sent home so that a proper examination of the school could be conducted.
According to the Tribune-Review, police were able to determine that the license plate was stolen off another car. 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.
Dell was taken into custody and is being charged with Terrorist Threats, Causing or Risking Catastrophe, Reckless Threat to use a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and Theft. He faces a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison and fines over $50,000.
While Dell was being taken into custody, a bomb detection dog alerted on his vehicle, however no explosives were found. Dell also told police he had a gun, but police found no weapons either.