A rural Oak Harbor man accused of inducing panic with bomb threats to area schools, including two in Oak Harbor, remains in custody on a $250,000 bond.
Charles Tingler, 22, of North Leutz Road, Salem Township was returned to the Ottawa County Detention Facility following his initial appearance Monday in Ottawa County Municipal Court. He will be assigned a court appointed attorney and return for arraignment at 3 p.m. May 5, a court employee said.
He was originally charged with two counts of inducing panic in connection with the April 21 bomb threats at Oak Harbor High School and Oak Harbor Middle School. However, the paperwork for one of the charges was filed incorrectly but will not be resubmitted, the employee said. Tingler is also the suspect in several other hoax calls at Waite High School, Port Clinton Middle School and the Fremont Wal-Mart.
On May 14, Tingler’s case is scheduled to go before a session of the Ottawa County grand jury, according to Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan. If Tingler is indicted, the case will then fall under the jurisdiction of the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.
Authorities arrested Tingler last Friday – just five days after the first calls. They say he admitted to making the threatening calls, which reportedly started as playful talk between Tingler and a friend who stated he did not want to go to school that day. Students had ended classes April 21 and were on their way home and to extra-curricular events when the threats sent school officials into crisis mode.
Tingler reportedly used a mobile phone application called Spoof.com that disguises the caller by leading those on the other end of the line to believe that the call originates from a completely different source.
“Don St. Clair of the (Ottawa County) task force is the one who dealt with the mobile application. It was a good bit of police work,” Mulligan said.
During the investigation, St. Clair was informed the call to the high school appeared to have come from the middle school. Delving further, the found the real caller’s number had been hidden somehow via a cell phone application. He tracked the call to a provider of the suspected application. After a subpoena was issued, the provider turned over the name of the caller and also provided recordings of the calls that neither the schools nor the police had, Mulligan said.
“He also digitally disguised his voice,” Mulligan said of Tingler’s hoax calls. “In one he sounded like an older man. In the other it sounded like a fake young girl’s voice, with almost a Mickey Mouse type voice.”