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Clearwater man to Largo Mall Red Lobster hostess: "I work for the Taliban, and I have a bomb in this bag"

LARGO — Police officers arrested a Clearwater man Thursday after he told a Red Lobster hostess he had a bomb and was from the Taliban, then later said he was joking.

Freddie Claudrick Bryant, 50, walked into the restaurant in Largo Mall just after 3 p.m. Thursday, carrying a black bag, Largo Police said. He's now facing possession of cocaine charges as well as a second-degree felony charge for falsely reporting a bomb. He's currently being held on a $28,000 bond.

Largo police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney said the department received a call just after 3 p.m. from the general manager of the restaurant in Largo Mall.

"Just to make you smile, I work for the Taliban, and I have a bomb in this bag," Bryant reportedly told the hostess.

Bryant was seated with a woman near a window away from other patrons. Everyone else in the restaurant was quietly evacuated by police, who set up a perimeter around the restaurant.

After he left the restaurant at 3:20 p.m., he was arrested by officers stationed around the building. He told the officers there was nothing in the bag and that he was joking, Chaney said. Members of the Tampa police bomb squad arrived on scene to check the bag, which was empty.