A University of Alabama freshman faces up to 20 years in prison after allegedly phoning in a fake bomb threat to Tiger Stadium during the LSU-Florida game on Oct. 12.
Connor Bruce Croll, 19, was charged on Oct. 18 with communicating false information of a planned bombing on school property, a felony offense, by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office, according to The Advocate.
According to East Baton Rouge Parish booking records, a call came to the Baton Rouge Police Department’s non-emergency line during the game that said “there is a bomb in the stadium.” Detectives traced the call to Croll’s phone and discovered he was a student at the University of Alabama.
Croll, of Crozet, Virginia, was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail without bond on Oct. 13.
ESPN announced the LSU-Florida game was the most watched college football game on the network in nearly two years, with an average of 6.45 million viewers. There were over 102,000 fans in Tiger Stadium that night.
Officials contacted the University of Alabama Police Department, and Croll was arrested, according to the Advocate. Police said Croll confessed, saying he called the threat in to try to stop the game because his friend was about to lose a bet.
In a statement about the incident, Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard said LSUPD and University officials, as well as federal and local law enforcement on location, have protocol in place to respond to perceived threats at Tiger Stadium and across campus.
“In this case, protocol was followed efficiently and effectively to quickly ascertain the source of the threat,” Ballard said via email. “That protocol includes an immediate sweep of the stadium and a multi-agency investigation, which led to the suspect being identified within minutes and arrested soon thereafter.”
The statement said LSU appreciates the cooperation of all agencies and the University of Alabama in the incident.
“There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of the public on campus,” Ballard said.
Croll waived extradition to Baton Rouge, meaning he allowed himself to be taken into custody in Louisiana, where charges are pending against him, according to KALB. On Oct. 16, Croll was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a $100,000 bond.
Croll pleaded not guilty to District Judge Fred Crifasi, and he will appear in court again on Jan. 8, according to The Advocate.
This is not the first fake bomb threat the University has received in recent years.
Last December, Evan Reagan James was arrested by LSUPD after sending a false bomb threat to the University. He was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison later that day on charges of communicating of false information of planned bombing on school property, at school-sponsored function or in a firearm-free zone.
The University was notified of a bomb threat early in the morning on Dec. 14, and LSUPD began working to determine the credibility of the threat and identify the person responsible.
The University determined the threat was not credible, but still performed a sweep of campus using K-9 units as a precaution.