BETHEL PARK (KDKA) – Police evacuated a local shopping mall Sunday night after a 70-year-old man said he had a bomb like the ones used in Boston.
The bomb threat came at a time when people are on edge after the bombings at the Boston Marathon just one week ago.
For Melissa Roman and Scott Ross, something didn’t seem right when 70-year-old Frank Zahler walked into the Red Robin in the South Hills Village.
“We were sitting two tables away and when he walked in, he looked very odd to me,” Roman said.
“It was weird. He just came rolling in with long gray hair, his eyes were kind of sunken in..
His looks were one thing, but what he was carrying and allegedly said to people in the nearby Barnes and Noble is what was got folks concerned.
“Basically what happened is the gentleman started talking about Boston and bombs or bomb materials,” Bethel Park Police Chief John Mackey said.
“When he came in, he had this big briefcase not just a leather briefcase, but a very hard durable looking briefcase and gym bag,” Roman said.
Around 6:15 p.m., someone from the Barnes and Noble called Bethel Park Police to report what Zahler allegedly said.
When they arrived, officers rushed into Red Robin.
Zahler, of Castle Shannon, was arrested while the mall and nearby Carmike Theater was evacuated. At the police department, a visibly disoriented Zahler said he was only kidding;
“It’s crazy. I didn’t have anything. I was making a joke with the kid. These kids are whacky man, you know. What can you do with them? That’s America today. In my day, we would have laughed it off,” Zahler said
Zahler is facing a list of charges including, making terroristic threats, risking a catastrophe and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.