SOUTH BRUNSWICK — If it was supposed to be a joke, nobody was laughing.

A 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with panicking law enforcement and the school community by making a hoax threat against South Brunswick High School.

Police said Rohan Sinha, a resident of the township’s Monmouth Junction section, sent a direct message to a friend “warning of problems at the high school” last Friday.

Deputy Chief Jim Ryan said Sinha’s message “identified specific actions that would be taken and who would be harmed.”

The friend took the message seriously and alarm spread as the friend shared the menacing post with acquaintances, police said.

Police also took the message seriously. Investigators now believe, however, that Sinha “intended the message as a joke when he sent the message and did not realize how widely it was circulated,” police said in a written statement.

But, police said, this was no innocent fun. Chief Raymond Hayducka said detectives worked “round the clock” to find out who was responsible and determine it was only a hoax after word had quickly spread through the community.

“The suspect took no actions to dispel the threat even after he became aware that others knew of it,” Ryan said.

Sinha was charged with creating false public alarm and terroristic threats and was later released after his arrest Monday evening. New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday evening whether he had an attorney.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-775-9793 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.