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Man Flying To SFO Caught With Fireworks In His Carry-On

PHILADELPHIA (CBS SF) – A man flying to San Francisco was detained at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday because he was carrying fireworks in his backpack, authorities said.

Philadelphia police said there was no indication of a terrorist motive, but the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration were called in to help with the investigation. The Philadelphia PD bomb squad responded and safely removed the items from the checkpoint at 6:23 a.m.eastern time Thursday.

CBS Philadelphia reported central Pennsylvania resident Joseph A. Picklo, 29, was arrested on federal charges of possession of a destructive device.

Sources told CBS Philadelphia three M-80 fireworks, a canister containing black aluminum powder wrapped in black electrical tape and a lighter were found in Picklo’s carry-on luggage.

Picklo reportedly told authorities that he was “blowing stuff up” over the weekend and simply forgot he had the items in his possession.

Officer Christine O’Brien said Picklo was trying to catch a United Airlines flight and never made it through the security checkpoint.

Related:SFO Cargo Area Briefly Evacuated Over Suspicious Package

A spokeswoman for the airport said the suspicious item was first noticed at 5:46 a.m. at a security checkpoint, and the man was detained around 6 a.m. eastern time.

In a statement, the TSA said, “It was determined that the carry-on bag contained several prohibited items including a water bottle filled with flash powder and M-80 fireworks.”

Airport officials said the checkpoint opened about a half-hour later. No flights were delayed, including the one bound for SFO.

Nevertheless, 12 passengers booked on that flight who planned to catch a connecting flight to Tokyo were not able to board because they were immediately behind him in the security line and were not allowed to leave the checkpoint while the terminal was shutdown.

Philadelphia TSA Federal Security Director Robert Ellis issued a statement saying “The training and alertness of the officers at the Philadelphia checkpoint prevented these items from being brought on board an aircraft.”

The flight was scheduled to arrive at SFO at 9:20 a.m. Pacific time.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • SFAnnie

    My God. I find it ridiculous that they would not allow any further passengers through the security section though. If they were going to allow the flight to take off, then certainly all passengers who were scheduled for that flight should have the right to pass, provided they passed inspection. This is like seeing twelve cop cars surrounding one incident on the freeway, and backing it up for miles. One does not need that many officers to subdue one individual. It’s clearly a case of misguided process and accountability.


    You mean they didn’t strip search and cavity probe every American air traveller? Then the department of hostility isn’t doing its job to harass and scare every American in to supporting war against foreign non christian nations.

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