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.
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.
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