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Two Restaurants Emptied After Bomb Threats

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two Harbor Boulevard restaurants were evacuated Thursday night after a male caller told the managers he had planted a bomb inside and would detonate it if they didn’t deliver cash to him, police said.

The first call went to Kaplan’s Deli at about 9:25 p.m. The man asked manager David Kling if he had heard about a robbery that occurred the night before at an Outback Steakhouse in Las Vegas, where the robber reportedly had used a bomb. Kling replied that he had not; authorities later confirmed no such bombing or robbery had occurred, said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Ron Smith.

“The caller then said there was bomb inside Kaplan’s and told [Kling] to take the money down the street . . . and throw the bag of money on the sidewalk,” Smith said. “He indicated he would blow the place up if he didn’t do this.”

Kling hung up and called police, who quickly evacuated about a dozen people from the restaurant. No bomb or suspicious package was found inside, Smith said.

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Less than an hour later, a similar call was received just a few blocks away at Coco’s Restaurant. Manager Diane Miller told police the man asked her if she’d heard about a bombing-robbery at the Outback Steakhouse, this time in Los Angeles. Again, authorities confirmed the story was false, Smith said.

Officials evacuated and searched the restaurant but found no explosives. Police also drove to the parking lot of a nearby bank, where the caller had said he would leave a note in a shopping cart with instructions on where to take the money.

“There was no shopping cart, no note and nobody was hanging around,” Smith said.

Police visited several other Harbor Boulevard restaurants to warn managers about the calls, but the man did not attempt another robbery, he said.

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