A man wearing a mask of someone almost twice his age slipped a note to a restaurant worker that said there was a gunman and multiple bombs at two Pennsylvania high schools in an attempt to distract police so he could pull off a bank heist, officials said.
The false threats led to early dismissal at Norwin High School in Irwin and at Jeannette High School, about 8 miles away. Both schools were searched before they were cleared of any potential threat, police said.
Luke Joseph Dell, 34, wearing a mask that resembled the face of a bearded elderly man, walked into a Bob Evans Restaurant just before 9:15 a.m. Tuesday and laid a note on the counter that said "there was an active shooter threat and multiple bombs" at the schools, according to a statement from the North Huntingdon Police Department.
Police responded to the restaurant and were able to obtain a photo of Dell and saw that he left the restaurant in a black Dodge Charger. The vehicle, which allegedly had stolen license plates, was later spotted and an officer conducted a traffic stop.
Dell, of Beavercreek, Ohio, told the officer that he passed the note to the restaurant worker so police would respond to the schools. He said he had planned to rob a bank, North Huntingdon Police said.
Dell was arrested while still wearing the mask before he reached the bank. He was charged with terroristic threats, causing or risking catastrophe, reckless threat to use a weapon of mass destruction and theft.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.