PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) — An investigation into a series of telephoned bomb threats to schools and police departments in northwestern Ohio has resulted in a man’s arrest on a charge of inducing panic.
An Ottawa County jail official said Charles Tingler, 22, of Oak Harbor, was being held in jail Saturday on the charge. It could not be determined immediately whether Tingler had an attorney.
Authorities say the fake threats occurred in Ottawa, Sandusky, Erie and Lucas counties. In each call, the suspect either said a device was about to go off in the school building or that a man in a trench coat was walking in the school with a bomb, police said.
Agent Donald St. Clair of the Ottawa County Drug Task Force told area reporters at a Friday news conference that the charge against Tingler related to threats to Oak Harbor schools on April 21. The case will be presented to a grand jury, and more charges related to threats to other schools are likely, Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan said.
A message seeking additional comment was left Saturday at the Ottawa County sheriff’s office. There was no answer to calls to the prosecutor’s office.
St. Clair told reporters earlier that police were able to trace the calls to Tingler’s cellphone and that the suspect used different Internet sites and mobile applications designed to disguise his voice and phone number.
Tingler told authorities that he made some calls that started as pranks and said that he “took it too far,” St. Clair told reporters.
“He was extremely remorseful,” St. Clair said. “Toward the end of the interview, he was ready to cry and break down.”
Authorities said the drug task force was involved because its agents are local law enforcement officers who assist on other cases when asked.
Tingler is scheduled for a hearing in Ottawa County Municipal Court on Monday.