Man arrested after allegedly claiming to have bomb in Red Lobster

The man claimed it was a joke, but police weren't laughing.

A Largo restaurant was evacuated after a man walked in and claimed to have a bomb in his bag, police said.

According to police, on Thursday afternoon a man walked into the Red Lobster restaurant at the Largo Mall, 10500 Ulmerton Road, carrying a black backpack. According to the store's general manager, the man told the hostess, "Just to make you smile, I work for the Taliban and I have a bomb in this bag."

When the suspect asked for a booth near a window, he and an unknown female were seated away from other patrons.

The manager called the police, who said to quietly evacuate the customers and staff. Patrol officers set a perimeter around the building.

At 3:20 pm, the suspect, later identified as Freddie Claudrick Bryant, 48. exited the front door and told officers that there was nothing in the bag and that he was just joking.

The Tampa Bomb Squad checked out the bag to be safe, and no explosives were found.

Bryant was charged with false report concerning planting a bomb or explosive.

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