Updated Oct. 11 9:40 a.m.
The emergency lockdown procedures he learned as a student at Lawrence High School came in handy for Anthony Giglio on Wednesday when Neil Thompson, 33, entered the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence and said he had nuclear bombs and was going to blow up the building.
At 10:23 a.m. on Oct. 10, after Giglio, 19, of Inwood, watched Thompson rip up the center’s signup sheet and other papers, he went to the restroom and dialed 911.
Then, thinking quickly while the man was upstairs, Giglio went to the center's reception desk and called for an emergency fire drill over the building’s public address system, and got employees and children from the Center’s Head Start program out of the building. Thompson continued his outburst in the lobby and broke a cabinet, according to Giglio.
Nassau County police responded, found Thompson on the second floor of the enter and arrested him. There were no bombs found. Before Thompson entered the Center he was seen in the parking lot of 135 Lawrence Ave., also in Lawrence. He smashed a car window of a 1994 Geo Seadan and kicked a 1995 Nissan Quest, which dented the vehicle, according to police.
The Center's Executive Director Bertha Pruittt said she recognized the man and thought he had once lived in Inwood, but she wasn’t sure if he lived there now.
“In the past, we’ve been fortunate we haven’t had this kind of interruption," said Pruitt, adding that the children were sent home with their parents and were at no time in danger. "Thank goodness no one was hurt.”
Center employees returned to work after the evacuation.
Thompson was charged with falsely reporting an incident-first degree. Materiasl used to make fireworks were found in Thompson's Lawrence Avenue residence in Inwood. However, possession of those materials is not illegal, police said.
Ann. E. Friedman contributed to this story.