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St. Louis man charged after tweeting 'threats' referencing Busch Stadium, Boston bombing, police say

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ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis man has been arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat after taking to a social media site and allegedly implying he would use an explosive device similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombings in or around Busch Stadium during the World Series, police say.

Robert Metzinger, 31, of the 1500 block of Locust Street was arrested Friday, charged Saturday and released on bond Monday. Metzinger’s account appears to have been deleted, but an account called @BestFansStLouis tweeted what it said were some of Metzinger’s deleted posts:

@bobbymetzinger: Putting my loft up for a ridiculous “Boston-only” rate for the #WorldSeries. Pressure cooker sold separately.

@bobbymetzinger: The #WorldSeries will be another finish line not crossed by #Boston.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Metzinger didn’t take any steps that he’s aware of to carry out the alleged threats beyond posting the threatening messages on Twitter and likened Metzinger’s actions to walking on to an airplane and making terrorist-like statements.

“I wasn’t going to take any chances with the safety of the fans and Major League Baseball,” Dotson said. “We follow through on threats like this all the time, but certainly everyone’s attention is heightened because of the World Series.”

Dotson had told reporters during numerous media briefings about security measures leading up to the World Series that the city had not received any terrorist threats. He said he stopped making that statement as soon as Metzinger was arrested.

Dotson said Metzinger’s former employer, marketing firm Group360 Worldwide, disciplined him in some way and informed police of his threatening messages, which began Oct. 21. The company’s president, Tim Rutter, referred questions to an attorney who did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The tweets made reference to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon April 15 and included a reference to a pressure cooker, the same explosive device used during the attack in Boston, in or around Busch Stadium during the World Series, according to court documents.

Judge Theresa Burke set Metzinger’s bail at $10,000, which a relative posted, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear before Burke at 9 a.m. on Nov 22.

Metzinger’s use of social media was once highlighted by KMOV (Channel 4), as he created the “@unemployedinPR” Twitter account to not only try to find a job himself, but to help public relations professionals who had lost their jobs during the economic downturn, according to his personal website.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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