NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a bomb hoax last week at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that forced an evacuation of the sprawling campus and triggered a large-scale police response, authorities said on Tuesday.
Devin Haywood, a Louisiana resident who is not a student at the school, was arrested late on Monday by the FBI in Lafayette, 120 miles west of New Orleans, the Lafayette-based U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
He was arraigned on Tuesday and charged with one count of using a facility in interstate commerce to willfully make a threat or maliciously convey false information. He was also charged with one count of attempted bank robbery, stemming from an alleged incident that state police said occurred the same day.
The two charges carry maximum sentences of 10 and 20 years in federal prison respectively, prosecutors said.
The incident last Wednesday began with a threat called in to a television station at about 5:30 a.m. warning of a bomb in a park near the school and an unspecified number of other explosive devices on campus, authorities said.
Police responding to the threat found a suspicious device in or near a garbage can in a park adjacent to the school that turned out to be a phony bomb, Louisiana State Police spokesman Master Trooper Brooks David said.
Classes were canceled for the 5,500 students attending summer school. Several hundred visitors, including incoming freshmen, had to spend much of the day off campus.
The school normally has an enrollment of about 17,000 students.
Haywood was returned to custody after his court hearing, with no date set for his next appearance, said Henri LeJeune, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lafayette.
Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Bill Trott and Peter Cooney