Desperate times call for desperate measures. And when a 22-year-old Land O'Lakes man wanted to talk to his 17-year-old girlfriend at Chamberlain High School on Monday, he took such a drastic step he wound up in jail, police say.
Robert Troidl called 911 three times just after 9 a.m. to say he was being held at gunpoint inside the school by a madman who planned to blow it up, authorities say. Bombs were planted in classrooms and in cars, he said.
Consequently, more than 500 students and faculty were evacuated, the Tampa police bomb squad searched the school at 9401 N Blvd. and the FBI showed up.
Then a school resource officer saw a suspicious man driving around the school in a Pontiac Sunbird talking on a cellular telephone. It was Troidl, authorities say.
Police stopped him a few blocks from school and, after several hours of questioning, charged Troidl with making bomb threats and disrupting school. He was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail on $20,250 bail.
"In today's society, you've got to take bomb threats seriously," said Mike Parrish, the school resource officer. "Kids' safety is always paramount."
Troidl, who has no prior record, told police he made the threats because he and his girlfriend had quarreled and he wanted to talk to her. He is not a Chamberlain student.
The girlfriend, who police would not identify, was shocked when she was told Troidl threatened to blow up the school.
"She seemed bewildered," Tampa police Cpl. Charles Blount said. "She wondered why this guy would do this."
_ SUSAN CLARY