THE HAGUE (AFP) - Former classmates of a teen who stormed the studios of Dutch national TV demanding airtime before being arrested described him on Friday as a "normal guy", but one fascinated by conspiracy theories.
"Clever, pleasant and a bit of a loner, but certainly not a crazy guy," one of the 19-year-old's former classmates at Delft Technical University told the daily Algemeen Dagblad.
Another former classmate told the NOS public broadcaster, where the drama played off, that the teen, seemingly normal, had a rich imagination and was "often in his own world".
"In recent years he was interested in conspiracy theories involving the Free Masons and a 'new world order'," the student said.
The man, a first-year student at Delft Technical University, forced his way into a studio at the NOS broadcaster's headquarters in the city of Hilversum Thursday evening waving what turned out to be a fake pistol and demanding airtime.
He claimed to represent a hackers' collective.
He was quickly overpowered by police and offered no resistance.
Several students told the Algemeen Dagblad they believe the teen, identified as Tarik Z., may have pulled the stunt in order to gain access to a student society, but that could not be confirmed.
Speaking to the paper in the teen's neighbourhood of Pijnacker outside The Hague, one resident said Tarik Z. "was never a violent youngster." The popular daily tabloid De Telegraaf described him as a loner with "few friends".
The incident prompted beefed up security at media outlets.